Only Tuesday

My eyes are watering furiously. It’s probably leftover from the fry bread experiment last night–I found a recipe and went all in. I’m thinking I want to do it in shortening instead of canola oil next time, and further thinking I want to work a little something into the dough to make it a teensy bit less stiff. Not a lot, because that’s how you get the pockets, but a little bit.

The Princess, not to be outdone, went to work on this marshmallow recipe after dinner. So, this morning there’s the smell of frying and a whole pan of springy, fluffy marshmallows. I’m not sure what it means, other than the fact that the Princess is coming into her own as a candy maker. She’s going to Willy Wonka the world, I can just tell.

She never used to like working with meat or high-temperature sugar cooking, but flour is a gateway drug and now she’s in it to win it. I’m surprised she isn’t chocolate-dipping the marshmallows. Half of them are going to go to a friend’s house, which is good, and if there are any left on Sunday I’ll be having a giant mug of hot chocolate STUFFED with homemade mallows.

All in all, things are pretty quiet here despite my deepening cough and the dogs’ insistence that running around screaming constitutes exercise. I could take them for a run, but I’m not sure my ankle would hold up. On the other hand, Sir Boxnoggin will be getting a bath today, and that will tire him out more than any amount of running and yapping.

I’m on my second jolt of coffee and thinking about another scene between Friar Tuck and Prince John today. I’m also hoping that when I go back to HOOD yesterday’s efforts will not be in vain. I mean, I’ll probably have to throw out half of it, but that’s better than having to throw out the whole thing, right?

Right?

Anyway, that’s the news that’s fit to print. This upcoming weekend is for more Lightning Bound (I kind of want to do a big banquet scene again) and for a hot date with Caesar’s Gallic War, because my Latin is rusting and I need to get back with it. Unfortunately it’s only Tuesday, so Latin, the witch and the storm god, and homemade marshmallows have to wait.

It’ll just make the indulgence sweeter when I get to it. Or so adulthood tells me.

I hope that’s not a lie. Over and out.

Full Dance Card

So the Kindle edition of Atlanta Bound is now back up at Amazon. Since it’s coming through Draft2Digital, I can be assured you’re getting the whole file and there’s no hanky-panky. Amazon’s still refusing to make things right with me, for lo I am just a poor content creator. I’ll just take my toys and go elsewhere. I’m considering shifting plenty of my previous works off KDP–don’t worry, they’ll still be available for Kindle and on Amazon itself, I just won’t be listing them through the KDP interface.

Oddly, the books I haven’t listed through KDP seem to do ever so much better than the ones I have. Which makes me very…thoughtful.

Very thoughtful indeed.

In any case, it only took two weeks, severe aggravation, and multiple emails both from me and from angry Readers. Practically a bargain, right? (/sarcasm)

Anyway, I have Robb and March drinking tai, a servant girl and her mistress, and a daimon and a Celestial Representative to write today, as well as Latin, piano practice, running, snuggling the doggos, and dinner to think about. It’s a full card, and why I jam-packed my holiday Monday I have no idea. Unless it was that I felt so good on Sunday I made out the list for the next day’s work in a fit of deep optimism.

Even the best of us have those moments, I’m sure.

Anyway, it’s time to get the next few things on the list checked off so I can run with two dogs trying to pull me in opposite directions. I’ve never seen the Chariot card played so plainly in real life. It’s enough to put me off tarot for a week, except I need the practice.

See you around, folks.

Super Chonk Squirl

Super Chonk Squirl

No, that's not a teensy-tiny bird feeder to the right. That's a bird feeder out in the middle of the yard behind the fir, and a VERY ROUND squirrel who cannot fit between the vertical supports on the deck railing.

SUPER. CHONK. SQUIRL.

Not pictured: Sir Boxnoggin, who was vibrating with the need to get through the glass French door and after said almost-spherical snack…

Seasoning, Not Dish

I’ve taken to making a list of the next day’s proposed work before I go to bed at night, and leaving it on my desk. It’s yet another way to get the engines beneath the floor of my consciousness to work on what I want them to work on instead of chewing up random stuff and spitting it at me at 3am.

I mean, that’s kind of fun and there’s room in my life for it, but it needs to be a seasoning, not the whole dish.

Yesterday I was struggling with The Poison Prince. It’s the second in a trilogy, so the bridging requires careful thought. It’s early days in the project, so I had to take a deep breath and let the book do what it wants. It worked–a scene I didn’t expect fell out, a character moving forward and taking her place in the sun. She gets an arc of her own, this young lady, but I’m not sure where it ends.

I have to write and find out.

Then it was HOOD, untangling a discussion between Alladal and Marah. Al’s a romantic lead all her own, and she wants the Dirty Dancing soundtrack all the time. Marah, of course, has been carrying a torch for someone all this time. There are several relationships happening at once when Marah, Robb, Giz, and Al are all onscreen, and a vast majority of them are unrequited.

It’s fun. And deconstructing the Robin Hood mythos is even better. I’m fascinated by the idea that terraforming and generation ships won’t necessarily lead to a fairer and more equitable society. Plus it’s difficult to have the whole Robin Hood thing without a huge inequality, whether corporate or feudal or–what I’ve eventually gone with–both. It’s also fun to swim around in the history and myth and pull out the threads one wants, clipping them fast and building a whole new structure. After working with many different influences, it’s like slipping into a warm bath to return to one’s own backyard.

Anyway, today I get to write Little John and Maid Marian, as well as John and Robin Hood puffing and blowing like the two stiff-necked veterans they are. It doesn’t help that both of them are drunk and wounded from separate barfights.

Well, write what you know, right?

There’s also Latin flashcards, piano practice, and running the dogs. My dance card’s full, and that’s the way I like it.

Let’s kick Thursday in the pants.

Kept From Brooding

I finished up the revisions on two short stories yesterday–the Hansel & Gretel kung fu story and the Alice in Wonderland/Resident Evil one. Both are sent off to the editors now, since they need another pair of eyes to figure out where the lacunae are. The stories are so vivid inside my head I forget the reader can’t peek inside my skull and watch them. Maybe one day technology will allow for that–I remember a Tanith Lee novel where someone had a job doing as much–but for right now, text is the tool I’ve got to pry the stories out of my head.

There’s an update on yesterday’s post about Atlanta Bound. It’s particularly telling that KDP only responded once I unpublished the book, which cuts into their profits. I expect Amazon to drag its feet over listing the book as distributed by Draft2Digital, too, especially now that I’ve publicly called them out. Which isn’t perfect, it is an inconvenience I did my best to prevent, but there’s nothing to be done for it.

Anyway, today I have a scene in The Poison Prince to rip apart and rework–an Emperor and his second concubine having a long-overdue conversation–and Alan-a-Dale has to visit Maid Marian’s clinic besides. My work is cut out for me, and there’s also lasagna to be made for the Princess’s houseguests. Somewhere in there the dogs need walks, and I should probably take a shower before the morning gets much older.

The Princess greeted me with coffee this morning as I shuffled into the kitchen, a truly welcome event. Boxnoggin and B are still worn out from yesterday’s wind and long-ish run, and the advent of visitors will explode their Tiny Little Minds. There’s a lot of excitement planned for today.

I should probably get started. No rest for the weary or the wicked, my loves, and sometimes I prefer it that way. It keeps me from brooding.

Or at least, it tries to. I’m pretty sure I can brood anywhere, anytime.

Over and out.

What Happened to ATLANTA BOUND?

I never, ever upload a placeholder file to any digital publishing platform. Ever. I’ve heard too many horror stories of platforms releasing the placeholder instead of the final file.

But even doing everything correctly, it seems, is no guarantee of success when you’re dealing with Amazon.

Despite having a full, complete, and final .mobi of Atlanta Bound from the very beginning1, Amazon sent out a corrupted file (comprising only front and back matter, not the content) to preorder customers. Of course they waited until release day to tell me, and I immediately uploaded another fresh, full, complete .mobi file. (This can be seen in the “look inside” portion of the Amazon detail page.)

You can see it. It’s there. But Amazon won’t take Atlanta Bound out of jail.

After nine emails and four calls to KDP’s “customer service” line (where I get hung up on halfway through the option tree) there is still no move on Amazon’s part to fix their mistake. Unfortunately, Amazon will not condescend to reply to my numerous emails, phone calls, and at least one customer service chat. Atlanta Bound is still listed as “unavailable” a week after release. One of the reviews on the detail page says that Amazon customer service sent her the full, correct file when she gave them her preorder number, so at least there’s that. But the detail page is still locked, and I don’t know if other preorder customers have gotten theirs. There is literally and absolutely nothing else I can do here; Amazon is simply refusing to do their damn job.

I have unpublished the book on KDP and will be shifting it over to Draft2Digital, which holds the distinction of being a company that hasn’t screwed over multiple authors yet. That means it will be on sale through Amazon again, it will just be supplied through a different pathway. Of course the transition will take time.

If you have a Kindle, you can get the .mobi edition through my Gumroad store, and it will play nice with said Kindle in every way.

IF YOU PREORDERED THROUGH AMAZON AND DID NOT GET YOUR COMPLETE DOWNLOAD, please email me through my contact page. Upon verification of purchase, I’ll personally send you the .mobi file. I am very sorry, I did everything I could to make this a better experience for my readers, but when Amazon decides to make their displeasure with a vocal critic of their business practices known, I suppose they go all the way.

I mean, sure, this could be an honest mistake or some form of inefficiency. But I’m not thinking it is, and until something happens to change my mind that’s the assumption I’m operating under. Future books will probably not be released through the KDP interface.

Readers, I apologize. I did everything I could, and it still didn’t work out. Thank you to everyone who’s been supportive through this. Release Day is always a special kind of nerve-wrack hell, and this kind of bullshit makes it even worse.

I’ve short stories to revise and more books to write. Back to work it is.

UPDATE 1/15/19: So I unpublished Atlanta Bound yesterday morning before writing this post. Guess what happened less than two hours later? Go on, guess.

That’s right. Someone at KDP finally wrote back.

 Jan 14, 2019, at 10:58 AM,Amazon.com<[email protected]> wrote:

Hello Lilith,

My name is [[redacted]], one of the Customer Service Supervisors with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Your case has been brought into my attention.

I’m very sorry for the frustration this issue has caused.

I checked your account and see that, your book, “Atlanta Bound” is currently in “Unpublished” status. In this case, I’d request you to republish your book in order for us to investigate further.

In the meantime, I’ll reach out to our quality team to remove the error message from your detail page. I will reach out to you with an update as soon as possible.

Also, once you republished your book, we will be able to push the updated content to the customers who pre-ordered your book.

Thanks for your understanding.

Can you imagine the look on my face when I opened that email? It was somewhat close to this:

Here’s my reply:

Jan 14, 2019, at 11:40 AM, Lilith Saintcrow [[personal email address redacted]] wrote:

Dear Mr [[redacted]],
Yes, after a week of being ignored—of NINE separate emails sent through the KDP Help menu, FOUR phone calls to KDP Customer Service (all of which hung up on me halfway through the option tree), and a Customer Service chat with a very nice young man named Syed who could not fix the problem—I have unpublished Atlanta Bound. I did so, in fact, earlier this very morning. I will be publishing it (and future works) to Amazon through Draft2Digital instead of KDP. I have no desire to have KDP/Amazon continue to ignore me while profiting off my work. You can find more details here: https://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/2019/01/what-happened-to-atlanta-bound/

There are two things you can do right now:

* You can make certain the preorder customers all have the full download. This is non-negotiable. You guys messed up, you need to fix it with the customers. I expect every one of those customers to have the full download and the royalties to be clearly marked on my next statement from KDP.

* You can let me know where to send an invoice for the working time I lost while attempting numerous times to get KDP to fix their error. I bill $75/hr for freelance work; emails and the like are automatically billed at a minimum of a quarter-hour apiece.

As you can no doubt tell, I am extremely frustrated with Amazon’s lack of attention to this matter, and furthermore I am insulted that it took unpublishing the book to get any sort of response. You can, no doubt, see that I am a prolific author; KDP is well on its way to losing my future business for good.

I look forward to your prompt reply.

I don’t think I’ll get a prompt reply.

Update 1/21/19: Amazon now tells me that all preorder customers should have the full download. If you do not, please email [email protected]. The book is now listed on Amazon as well, but the reviews seem to have not come through.

They’re still refusing to pay the invoice, which lengthens every time I have to email them about this damn matter. But I didn’t really expect much else.

He Fashion

Boxnoggin has fallen in love with this shawl. I am certain the fact that it was drying on a rack downstairs and Smells Like Cat has something to do with it. If you look closely, you can see his tail vibrating as I coo who’s a good boy who looks good? at him.

One of few good things about Americans losing their tiny little minds over nanny dogs is that men have by and large stopped bothering me while I’m out running or walking Boxnoggin. He underscores their caution by yelling at every guy who comes within range, especially those who look like they might want to stop me as I’m running and utter pleasantries about the fucking weather.

Anyway, Boxnoggin is a dopey, happy, goofy ball of adorable, and he has fine taste in shawls, too.