A few months ago, a client for whom I'd ghostwritten a book contacted me with an offer to write the next three books in his serial. This client had proven a challenge to educate as to what is and is not involved in ghostwriting. He wanted to negotiate a lower, bulk rate under contract for the next three books.
My rate had increased since signing the contract for the first book. I declined and responded with a counteroffer to write the second book in the serial at the same rate as the first, but stated the third and fourth books would be negotiated at the then-current rate if he wished me to ghostwrite them. He expressed concern at my unwillingness to "add value" and accept a lower overall per-word rate.
Truthfully, I thought I'd heard the last from him.
Surprise! Last week he contacted me, stating he wanted me to write the next installment. He offered a compliment: "The reviews for Volume One have been positive, so I feel good about completing the story." I went to the book's page on Amazon and read the reviews: really they're quite flattering and complimentary of the writing. Then he lowered the boom: "I can only pay you in $100 installments every 2 weeks. Instead of stopping work, I would like for you to work on the chapters back to back and just retain ownership of the writing until I have paid off the balance."
Okay, I replied, we can do that. I would retain ownership of the content until the project fee was paid in full. Only then would he receive delivery of the document and transfer of the copyright. I also specified the limits of service: drafting, one round of revision, and a final round of review and approval. After approval, my obligation is finished. Any errors or issues with the content are then his problem, not mine. I drafted a new contract and sent it to him.
This morning he wanted to lower the overall fee: "I have few chapters that are close to completion that would just need some editing and proofreading service. Can we negotiate a flat fee for this?" Again, I declined. His writing style does not match mine, and editing will not mesh them into a cohesive narrative. Readers will notice the egregious and glaring difference between his prose and mine. If he wants me to write the story, then I write the entire story. Besides, if the client writes well, why hire a ghostwriter?
I am quickly reaching the limits of my patience. Let me say this one more time: when you hire a consultant or freelancer, you do so because you have confidence in that person's expertise to perform a task that you either have not the skill or time to do yourself. Respect that contractor's expertise. A little respect goes a long way.
In other words, if a contractor doesn't value the service he or she provides, then clients most certainly won't. Hold your ground, assert your value, and don't accept insulting offers.
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“Well, hey, if it ain’t our resident author,” the waitress greeted them, cracking her gum between her teeth. Her bright eyes turned predatory upon examining the handsome elegance of the man accompanying Corinne. “And who’s this? Ain’t one of yer brothers, is he?”
“No, Tansy, this is Uberon,” Corinne answered with a laugh. “ He’s just visiting.”
Ignoring the cool look the tall man gave her, the waitress tapped Uberon’s shoulder and said, “Well, y’all can visit me any time, good lookin’.”
An unaccustomed feeling of jealousy surged through Corinne, spurring her to respond, “Get your own man, Tansy. This one’s taken.” The waitress lauged and leaned forward. "You let me know if he’s got any brothers.” She winked and got to business. “Y’all know what ya want?”
Corinne shook her head and relaxed, not quite knowing why she’d staked her claim to Uberon like that. It simply wasn’t like her. So, she placed a generous order that included a slice of the coconut cream pie that was the diner’s specialty. Tansy looked expectantly at Uberon who simply replied, “I’ll have the same.”
“Sure thing, handsome.” She winked at Corinne with irrepressible good nature and sauntered off to place the order.
“Forward woman,” Uberon commented in an undertone.
“Tansy wants a husband so badly she can taste it,” Corinne explained with empathy. “She barely managed to finish high school and good jobs are scarce around here. But she’s goodhearted; there’s no malice at all in her. She’d make some farmer a devoted, hardworking wife.”
“You are kind.”
Corinne shrugged. “Her prospects aren’t good. She deserves a man who will love her and treat her well—and there just aren’t that many eligible bachelors in Winterset. Most kids here grow up and leave for college and never come back. Those who don’t leave either can’t or they’re tied to family farms.”
She looked around the diner, silently noticing that most of the patrons were a generation or two older than she. She returned her gaze to Uberon’s and held it. “This village is dying. It’s too far from Athens to catch the university crowd.”
Uberon listened as his mate explained.
“About six or seven years ago, the village council decided to sponsor a farmer’s market to capitalize on what this area does have, a lot of vegetable gardens, farms, and old-fashioned handicrafts. The Christmas fair gets in some regionally acclaimed folk artists and visitors from a pretty large area, but it’s not enough to sustain a hotel or do more than add a temporary boost to the local economy.”
Corinne paused and realized she’d been lecturing him. Blushing, she took a breath and apologized. “Sorry, Uberon. I got a little carried away there.”
“You care about these people as a good queen should,” he replied.
“Queen?” she spluttered and shook her head. “I am no queen.”
His eyes took on a far-away look and he added so quietly she had to strain to hear the words, “I lost the caring of my people and left them to my son, who never cared at all.”
“Your son?” she echoed.
“Marog. He is dead.”
Overcome by sympathy as well as confusion, Corinne reached across the table and covered his hand with hers. “Oh, Uberon, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”
He turned his hand to curl around hers. He lifted it and leaned forward to press a kiss to the knuckles. “You bring me naught but joy.”
This week's writing prompt focuses--surprise!--on writing, specifically whether participating authors prefer to use first, second, or third person point of view (POV).
For those who don't know or may have forgotten, third person POV comes in more than one flavor. There's "straight" third person in which the author or narrator is an observer, offering opinions as aside comments as he/she reports upon the events happening in the book. There's third person omnicient, in which the author plays God. The author narrates the story and delves inside each character's head to reveal each character's thoughts, feelings, and motivations. I find that particular variety of third person cumbersome. Finally, there's limited omniscient which I prefer. In the limited omniscient, I reveal the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of some of the characters, generally the hero and heroine and a sprinkling of secondary characters when I think doing so adds depth or interest. Of all my books, only Rowan contains first person POV content and that alternates with third person POV chapters.
I read a lot of books, especially "new adult" romances, that are written in alternating first person POV. Most of those are written in alternating first person POV, which sometimes works and sometimes not, depending upon how well the author can express the thoughts, feelings, insights, motivations, and speech of separate people. Whether in singular or alternating first person POV, the reader gets a deeply intimate and limited view of the story because we're looking at events from that character's point of view.
I've noticed that newer, less experienced authors often default to first person POV. It's easier than third person, because only one character's perception of events matters. Done well, first person POV really packs a punch. Robert B. Parker and Sara Paretsky use first person POV to great effect.
Finally, there's second person POV which is seldom seen and for good reason. It's extremely difficult to do, much less do well. I cannot recall when I last read a book in second person POV, although many blog posts tend to take that conversational tone. I certainly wouldn't attempt to write a novel in second person POV.
I'd be interested to which perspective readers prefer.
This week I'm having trouble focusing my thoughts. Work is slow, which means I've had "extra" time to write in the latest WIP (that's work-in-progress). The heat and humidity combined make me utterly miserable, which pretty much destroys my motivation to do anything. Therefore, this week you get a mishmash.
First outing on Diva
If you've been following my blog, then you know that I recently purchased a new horse to replace the lovely Lady Anastasia who, at 33 years old, has finally been retired from service. Of course, at her last farrier appointment, she stood strong and steady, not a hint of imbalance. Of course, she's probably more than strong enough to be ridden on the short trail rides I take. Of course, she's snickering behind my back, because now she doesn't have to do anything to earn her peppermints.
Last Saturday morning's excursion got off to a poor start. Yes, it's all my fault for assuming the extent of Diva's training. In short, she broke her lead rope, which meant that my husband and I played "chase the horsie." Ugh. Once we got her loaded and arrived at that trailhead, we took extra precautions to avoid further excitement and had a decent ride. She got a little antsy and crowhopped; we had a couple of small refusals that I bullied her through. Loading up to come home, she pulled back and damned near got free again.
I have to work on the whole standing tied thing with her.
My friend Cindra is coming up to our place on Saturday for a home-based ride. At least if Diva gets loose, we'll have the benefit of fencing to contain her.
Third pottery class
Last week was my third pottery class. It didn't go as well as the second. I managed to throw one pot and utterly ruin another. I learned how to trim the edges of the partially dried bowls and cup from the previous week. If I get really luck this week, I'll glaze the first three. If not, then so be it. This week I'll try my hand again at the pottery wheel. We'll see how it goes.
The latest WIP
I was productive over the weekend, adding almost 10,000 words to Bear of the Midnight Sun, the (unplanned) third book in the Immortal Shifters series. I don't think this will be one of my longer books. Regardless, it has what I'd consider an interesting beginning for a paranormal romance, which I'll share with you.
Miranda and Sindre meet for the first time on set at a Las Vegas talk show. As soon as Miranda steps onstage, Sindre knows she's the ONE. The talk show host recognizes a perfect opportunity for outrageous publicity and organizes an impromptu Vegas wedding right then and there. Miranda doesn't particularly appreciate being railroaded into marriage. Sindre's not about to let her go, especially after their wedding night. And the story rolls.
Let me know what you think.
Daughter of the Dark Moon - Review / Excerpt & Events
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Book 3 of the Twin Moons Saga
Easing the door open, he stepped outside. The whine and buzz of hungry insects swarmed around him for a second, then disappeared. Even insects knew better than to feast upon fae flesh, or at least this fae’s flesh.
Probably equal to the Erlking and Enders in age, power, and capability, Uberon, the deposed king of the Unseelie Court, was the second most dangerous living creature on Planet Earth while he deigned to visit.
“I wondered why you gave up the kingdom so easily,” came the dry remark from the most dangerous creature on Earth.
Uberon looked at the spiral ivory horn and the flashing opal eyes. “The kingdom was Marog’s and he is gone. I have no further need of the crown.”
The sleek head swung to look at the dim cabin, then back at Uberon. “What have you need of then?”
The unicorn chuckled, but Uberon did not smile. “I never thought to see the day when mighty Uberon whose veins flow with ice succumbed to his libido.”
“Mate,” he corrected.
“Mate?” The razor point of the horn bobbed. A cloven hoof stamped once. “You were already once mated.”
“The fae get but one true mate each, if that.”
The unicorn’s laughter rang out, inaudible to the ears of mundane humans who did not believe in such mythical creatures. “You want us to transform her for you.”
“If you won’t, I will.”
“Do you really think you have that power?”
“Aye.” Uberon knew he did. All those thousands of years of scholarly immersion gave him the knowledge to access and exploit the power he’d need to effect the metamorphosis necessary for his mate to live in his world. Whether she would consent to it was another question, and not one that bothered him all that much.
The unicorn eyed the calm, assured male standing unafraid before him and understood that the former king of the Unseelie Court most likely did have the power to convert his little human into fae.
“We have never had two moon-borns at the same time. They are catalysts. The result may be unpredictable and possibly catastrophic.”
“She need not be moon-born, merely fae. She has her own power.”
“A human with power? How extraordinary.”
“Bring her to us at the dark of the moons.”
“No. I will bring her to you when she consents.”
“You dare defy us?”
“I will persuade her; but she will come at her decision, not yours.”
The beast shook his heavy mane. “You play dangerous games, Uberon.”
His lips curled in a smile that offered neither joy nor humor. “I’m a dangerous fellow and I don’t fear you.”
And that, the unicorn decided, was the problem. Uberon respected little and feared nothing.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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