November 17, 2016: New print edition of The Bridge is now available on Amazon.
November 9, 2016: New print edition of Way Past Cool is now available on Amazon.
September 13, 2016: Novel, Ghost Ship, is now available on Kindle.
April 13, 2015: Novel, Double Acting, is now available on Kindle.
January 13, 2014: Novel, Magic Rats, is now available on Kindle.
June 6, 2013: Novel, Drawing From Life, is now available on Kindle.
March 13, 2013: Ghost writing services added.
July 30, 2012: Novel, Midnight Sons, is now available on Kindle.
July 25, 2012: Book Piracy - Far Too Romantic A Term For Sneak-Thieves
What's in a word? Sometimes a lot, especially in regard to how it's perceived in a society. There's something romantic and Robin Hoodish about the words "pirate" and "piracy." Despite the fact that most real pirates were thieves and murderers -- and some were also rapists -- few parents would be shocked if their child played pirate or announced that he or she wanted to be one when they grew up... as opposed to playing thieves, murderers and rapists.
The words pirate and piracy are far too romantic for the kind of sneak-thieves who in the world of petty crime would be stealing a mechanic's tools, a farmer's plow or a fisherman's nets, but who seem to think it's Robin Hoodish to steal a writer's means of trying to make a living.
And while some of them try to justify their thievery by whining in various ways that they're "making books free for all," and if one buys (or steals) a print book they have every right to re-sell it or give it away, the obvious difference is those who buy (or steal) print books usually don't copy an infinite number of them to sell or give away.
One might also say they're cowards, the kind spineless little sneaks who wouldn't have the courage to burglarize a house, snatch an elderly woman's purse, or skim the till of a fast-food joint for fear of going to jail -- where they would be regarded by serious criminals (real pirates, so to speak) as nothing more than the cheap little thieves they are -- but who, at least for the present, until new copyright laws are enacted, seem to feel safe stealing writers' work.
And, making them feel safe -- as well as sanctioning their thievery -- are people who buy, download and/or read stolen books from or on the Web. At best these people are ignorant that they're encouraging and supporting a crime. At worst they're well aware they are... which puts them in the same low-life category of people who would knowingly buy tools stolen from a mechanic, a plow stolen from a farmer, or a net stolen from a fisherman.
Somewhere in the middle are those (also ignorant) who seem to think all writers are "rich" so it's okay to encourage and support the stealing of their work.
Also are some who think they're just being harmlessly naughty or defiant, like children snitching candy bars from stores or playing pranks on Halloween, not realizing -- or not wanting to admit -- they're committing, encouraging, and/or aiding and abetting a crime.
These people should consider that nothing on the Internet is actually anonymous, so there are records of those who are buying, downloading and reading stolen books.
And the time may come when those records are used.
If one truly loves books and respects authors, one should report any sites that offer stolen books... and some countries are even now setting up sites to take such reports. At the very least, one should contact the server or web host and make them aware that a client is offering stolen property.
Speaking for myself, and except for excerpts on this site, my works are presently only offered legally online as ebooks on Amazon's Kindle. If you find them anywhere else, they are there without my knowledge or permission and in violation of copyright law. If you buy, download or read them -- either out of ignorance or misguided defiance -- you're stealing from me... and I'm far from "rich."
But, please don't report them to me... like most writers who actually try to make a living from writing, I'm busy trying to make that living. Instead, do your duty as a decent person -- and one who loves books -- and report them as suggested above.
But, again, until new laws are enacted (laws which will, hopefully, also punish those who buy, download and/or read stolen work on the Web) perhaps if decent people started to call book thieves by their proper names, the unromantic legal names of the crime they should go to prison for, and stop using cute Jolly Roger symbols in reference to what they do -- a cockroach would be more appropriate, or a parasite like a tapeworm -- it might at least be a start toward solving the problem of book "piracy."
July 20, 2012: Most of us were taught early in our school years that a few bad people often spoil things for the good majority. This was usually illustrated when little Johnny or Jane was naughty so the whole class had to stay in from recess. While I never believed this was fair -- just a method of controlling a herd -- I'm forced to take a similar stance in regard to the novels on this site and remove them except for sample chapters. Although I made all of my novels available to be read free here, this apparently wasn't enough for a few people who've been copying them and putting them on other sites. Not only is this a violation of Copyright Law, but the only thing it has accomplished is to deny access to others, especially kids, who could not buy or otherwise obtain these books, either in print or on Kindle. Even if done with the best of intentions, the people who've been stealing and reposting these books haven't been playing Robin Hood... rather the reverse.
December 18, 2010: LETTER TO WRITER BEWARE
My name is Jess Mowry. I have been a professional writer -- defined as one who earns their living from writing -- for over twenty years, and have fourteen published books to date in eight languages. A Google for my name should provide more information.
First let me say that I get many emails and letters from hopeful new authors asking for advice about writing, literary agents and publishers, and your site is one I always recommend. You provide not only useful but vital information to authors, both new and established.
That being said, I would like to call your attention to a small publishing company that I believe should be on your Thumbs-down Publishers list... or which, at least, authors should be warned to beware of.
I have worked with over a hundred publishers, from the largest and most prestigious (such as Farrar, Straus & Giroux) right on down to the smallest and supposedly "exploitive" (Holloway House), and Orchard House Press in Port Orchard, WA has proved to be the absolute worst in every aspect ranging from communication with authors (at least with me), physical quality of books, marketing and distribution and, last but not least, honesty in paying royalties.
I believe that most of the meaningful books today are being published by independent presses, and when I signed with Windstorm Creative in the early 2000s (formerly Pride And Imprints, and currently doing business as Orchard House Press) I was led to believe I was signing with a legitimate, competent, independent publisher that would do its best with the resources it had to promote and market my books.
Instead, in the years following it seemed to be spending what at the time seemed to be its increasing profits on a new campus and a rabbit zoo.
Of course it's no business of mine what they did with their money, but I daresay had more of it been spent on producing quality books and marketing them they might not be where they are today.
There are many small independent publishers who have their titles listed in venues such as Publishers Weekly, as well as having their books reviewed by legitimate reviewers in major publications. ...Orchard House Press does not.
Many small publishers successfully market their books through established distributors and do not cry to their authors how hard and costly it is to do so. ...Orchard House Press repeatedly lamented in their author "News" how difficult and well nigh impossible it was to publicize and get distribution for their books.
No legitimate press that I know of appeals to their authors to donate money for book-binding equipment or to keep the publisher in business. ...Orchard House Press did, and by their own admission received more than a few thousands of dollars.
Nor do any legitimate presses I know of offer their authors "options" to donate their royalties back to the publisher. ...Orchard House Press does.
Many small presses produce quality books reasonably free of material defects and typographical and formatting errors.
Orchard House Press, on the other hand, managed to misspell "Skeleton" in the title on the front cover of one of my books. ...A mistake which, as far as I know, has still not been corrected in over two years.
Additionally, although Orchard House Press admitted a press run of books was defective (formatting error, text slippage) and said they would correct it, they nevertheless offered those defective books for sale. ...I know because I bought one from Amazon.
Other examples of which I know from personal experience are books offered for sale with pages missing. ...I have one, plus emails from other people who do.
Books that literally fell apart at a first reading. ...I have one, plus emails.
Books that teachers tried to order in quantity for their classes but which Orchard House Press was unable to supply. ...I have emails.
Books ordered by libraries which were of such poor quality they couldn't be used. ...I have emails.
Books offered for sale and orders accepted years before they were actually printed. ...I have screen captures and orders I placed.
I could add, books which are often painful to read because of justified margins apparently typeset by a computer not programed to use hyphens, but I imagine all Orchard House Press books are published that way.
And, as I've said, last but not least, I have reason to believe that Orchard House Press has been under-reporting sales of my titles to avoid having to pay royalties.
Emails to Cris DiMarco, one of the owners, have been responded to in a manner that I would call obtuse at best.
Interestingly, she never denied the royalty statements weren't accurate but only kept asking for more information. ...I say this is interesting because to the best of my knowledge she is the person who does the statements.
Perhaps I'm a bit paranoid, but I interpret this as asking me to tell her how I know they are false... which of course is a matter that may be dealt with in court. Her last reply was that she will wait to hear from my lawyer.
I will say this much: if -- purely for sake of argument -- sales figures of my six Pride And Imprints/Windstorm Creative/Orchard House Press titles had indeed been as dismal as the royalty statements indicate, I'm sure they would have dropped them years ago.
Since, according to my royalty statements, my titles aren't selling for Orchard House Press, one would think they would be more than happy to get rid of them and revert the rights to me. ...They apparently will not.
Logically, one would think if my titles aren't making money for them (at least) why would they want to keep them?
Based on my experience and all the examples above, I would say that instead of a legitimate independent publisher, Orchard House has become just another little vanity press unable to market their titles and expecting its authors to buy and peddle their own books.
And a dishonest one at that.
Note: Writer Beware responded instantly and has received a number of similar complaints about Windstorm Creative/Orchard House Press.
The late J.R.R. Tolkien, in reference to unauthorized editions of Lord Of The Rings, spoke of "courtesy (at least!) to living authors." In a similar vein, and as a courtesy (at least!) to this living author, please don't buy Windstorm Creative/Orchard House Press editions of Way Past Cool, Bones Become Flowers, Skeleton Key, Phat Acceptance, Voodu Dawgz or Tyger Tales. Thank you.