Cuckoo Redux

Worst Kept Secret Ever!

Worst Kept Secret Ever!

Hard to believe, but the JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith story has finally come to a conclusion, sort of.

One Weds, JK Rowling took her law firm, Russells, to court and won a judgement against them. Russells has agreed to make a large donation to The Soldiers’ Charity, at Rowling’s request, and has apologised publicly for the indiscretion.

Nowhere does it mention JK Rowling leaving Russells or the offending lawyer Christoper Gossage, being disbarred or even censured. However, the lawyer appearing for JK Rowling — Jenny Afia, is from Schillings law firm. So that does seem to indicate a shift in business.

Rowling, who was not in court for the hearing, said in a statement: “This donation is being made to The Soldiers’ Charity partly as a thank you to the army people who helped me with research, but also because writing a hero who is a veteran has given me even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed.

“I always intended to give The Soldiers’ Charity a donation out of Robert’s royalties, but I had not anticipated him making the bestseller list a mere three months after publication (indeed, I had not counted on him ever being there!).”

Of course, within that statement is the implication she spoke with “army people” as part of her research for the book. This rather implies that she went to Army soldiers and officers and said “Hey I’m doing research and would you mind . . . .” That statement implies at least a few Army personnel knew she doing research for a new book and any one of them could have mentioned it.

Too, it flies in the face of previous statements that Rowling made saying only told a “handful” of her most trusted advisers knew that she wrote a crime novel. Yes, maybe only a handful knew she was Robert Galbraith. But if she was talking to Army personnel doing research, people beyond the “handful” had to know she was writing a new book which featured some sort of Army connection.

Rowling’s lawyer told the court that Rowling was “angry and distressed that her confidences had been betrayed and this was very much aggravated by repeated speculation that the leak had, in fact, been a carefully coordinated publicity stunt by her, her agent and her publishers, designed to increase sales.”

Aggravating maybe, but completely understandable. Especially when one takes into consideration the fact that other publishing houses had rejected the novel as “good, but not good enough to a launch new author” and she ended up back at her old publisher instead of taking the book apart and trying to make it worthy of new author publication before submitting it again.

Solicitors for Gossage and Callegari said they had offered their sincere apologies to Rowling and legally undertaken “not to make any further public statements about this incident or the claimant.” Putting a lid on the matter once and for all.

Rowling will donate the equivalent of three years’ worth of royalties from The Cuckoo’s Calling to The Soldiers’ Charity. “It’s a not insignificant amount. We’re over the moon,” said a spokesman for the charity. So, all’s well that ends well. And hopefully, Rowling has learned to avoid pen names from now on. But don’t count on it!

Published in: on August 1, 2013 at 10:26 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Not your typical summer read


For those of you that didn’t read it in hardback when it came out last year, Cat Daddy by Jackson Galaxy (of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell fame) is now available in paperback (as well as audiobook & ebook).

The subtitle: What the world’s most incorrigible cat taught me about life, love and coming clean, barely begins to scratch the surface.

This is an unflinching and honest look at a human life, ruined by addictions and redeemed by the love of a cat, that not for the faint of heart.

But for those with the courage to take it up, you will be rewarded. While there are tips about cat care scattered throughout, this is more in the vein of an full-throttle autobiography (both Jackson’s and his cat Benny’s).

Rarely have we come across an author so willing to rip away the mask and yet so able to eloquently tell his truth (about shelters, addiction, loss, change, growth and so much more) in a can’t-put-it down fashion.

Definitely 5 stars. Definitely someone we hope will be publishing future works, of fiction, nonfiction or even verse!


Calling All Poets for The Common Good!


Common Good’s Amateur Love Poem Contest

Sharpen those pencils, ye poets of old, and young, and in between. Garrison Keillor and his bookstore, Common Good Books, St. Paul, Minn., have created the “Common Good Amateur Love Poem Contest” and are inviting poets who have not yet published a book of poetry to submit “poems of love or praise.”

The winner will be announced at the store’s “afternoon of poetry” Sunday, April 21, in the Weyerhaeuser Chapel at Macalester College.

“Poetry is a record of the life around us and in us, and you’ll get a better idea from poetry what it was like to be alive in 2011 than you will from the New York Times.”–Garrison Keillor

Copies of the winning poem will be published in Common Good’s newsletter, and will be printed and made available at the store.

Entries may be up to 14 lines or 200 words long and are due by March 18, with a limit of one entry per person. Poems should be mailed to

Finalists will be announced April 1, the start of National Poetry Month, at which point the store will display copies of the poems, and customers can vote for their favorites during the following two weeks.


2.5 Hours Later . . . .

Doing business taxes late at night is unbearable,
thank heaven there’s Turbo Tax.

Although, when you’re Number 330 in the TT Support Team’s chat que . . .



Where’s that double-expresso!

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 12:56 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Voice of an Angel — or something like it


This week we’ve been searching for a voice over artist. We’re putting Lily Does Sweden out as an audiobook, so audiobook narrator required. We’re going ACX.

ACX, for those of you that don’t know, is the Audio Creation Exchange. They are a partner of and a wing of Amazon. ACX connects publishers (or authors) to VO talent.

Anyone can sign up as a narrator and apply for a project by submitting an audition — feel free to audition, the script is on ACX — but authors and publishers can also use ACX to invite narrators to audition too.

ACX has over 10,000 voices to sample. They have a sorting system to cut down the crush, but don’t get your hopes up.

  1. Many ACX demo reels are of poor sound quality. We eliminated over 100 people because we thought they didn’t have the technical know how to produce an audiobook based on their poor quality reel.
  2. Good quality VO reels, but it’s several commercials strung together. This type of reel tells you nothing about how well a VO artist can narrate a book. So they don’t get chosen.
  3. One or two good reels, but the work doesn’t demonstrate a wide range of abilities. The reels don’t display the sort of voice or style you’re looking for, so you have to assume they can’t do what you need. That’s more talent passed over.

We narrowed our invite list down to 21 voices — all female.

From there we did a second round of listening (combined with looking at their various websites to find out more about each potential candidate — sometimes there are more demo reels on an artist’s website). We weeded out nine people completely this way. Problems included:

  • Too young/old sounding (no reel demonstrating they could do any other vocal age).
  • Too girlie-sounding (no reel demonstrating any other vocal style),
  • good voice, but no comic ability or poor reading of text.
  • good voice, but no demo reel showing they could do comedy,
  • great voice, but stopped taking projects,
  • great voice and comic timing, but poor with accents, gendered voices, etc.
  • great voice, but doubtful they’d do the content based on their website information.

We of the 11 left, we invited a couple people to audition right away because they seemed ideal in every way.

Then we sorted through the list a third time.

  • Two people we really liked we set aside because everyone agreed they both had an obvious regional accents (NY and Midwest) in every reel they did. That wasn’t a bad thing, it was just the wrong regional accent for our project and they had no reel to prove they could shed the accent. Many people don’t realize they have an accent.
  • One person was put aside because, although she had loads of VO experience and a perfect voice, she delivered every line like a radio announcer and had no reel to prove she could do otherwise.

We then had seven people left and you’d probably be surprised by who they are. Among the top VO artists were a Latina from the Deep South, a white American from Germany, an African American from New York, a Canadian, and a Japanese American from California. They were all of various ages too!

Lily Does Sweden has many parts, but all very White and mostly adults over 30. However, a great VO artist isn’t locked into his or her natural ethnic, regional or even gendered accent. That’s why they are great VO artists.

In fact, we realized very quickly that finding the right person is a matter of simply closing your eyes and really listening. And that’s your Valentine’s Day tip! Now, go and listen for your Angel.

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 12:50 AM  Leave a Comment  
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A Self-Published Author’s Media Rise


A big worry of authors, and one which keeps them from self-publishing, is the idea that only big publishing companies can get a book standard (non-social) media exposure. That is ridiculously untrue.

As proof, check out MJ Cope’s recent blog posts at Small Minds Enterprises. She wrote a press release, herself, for her recently self-published book Funny Australian Letterboxes. As result, she has been interviewed by newspapers (plural) and TV station GWN (see interview here).

There is nothing holding an author back today except antiquated ideas about publishing and marketing. If you are willing to take small steps, to give it a go, you can make yourself a success. Really!


Your Year of the Snake Fortune Foretold

Whatever You Do!

萬事如意 – “May all your wishes be fulfilled!”