Category Archives for News from the Sneaky Kitty Critic

The Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) Starter Pack

RJ here. (The furry bastards are asleep right now.) To give new readers a chance to get some of the earliest books, I’ve put together the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) Starter Pack!

This collection includes Playing with Fire, Hoofin’ It, Serial Killer Princess, Whatever for Hire, and three of the four Mag Rom Com novellas. (As shown on the pretty picture.)

It’s $9.99. Individually, the seven stories retail for $23.93. So, you’re getting a good deal on the books. If you’re a super bargain hunter, I will eventually submit this for a bookbub featured deal. If accepted, it’ll be substantially cheaper. (And a great way to get your friends hooked on the series.)

You can get this collection at Amazon, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books.

There is no new content in the Starter Pack. It exists to give new readers a chance to catch up on the series and see if they like the books for a more affordable price.

Note: While I might do an expansion packs eventually, future sets will only include titles more than a year old. If you’re willing to wait, it’ll be a great deal. Otherwise, continue as normal. 🙂

Thanks for your support, folks.

P.S.: If you’re just missing the novellas, it’s cheaper for you to just by the novellas by $0.99. To save money, you realistically need one novel and all three novellas as new-to-you stories or two full-priced novels. Otherwise, it’ll be cheaper to buy them individually.

Books in the collection are currently priced as follows:

  • Playing with Fire: $0.99. (This will return to $4.99 in May.)
  • Hoofin’ It: $4.99
  • Serial Killer Princess: $3.99
  • Whatever for Hire: $4.99
  • Hearth, Home, and Havoc: $2.99
  • Owl Be Yours: $2.99
  • Fowl Play $4.99

Thanks again, folks!

Shammed by Bernadette Franklin has released!

Hey, humans. Zazzle here. We’ve finally managed to get the human to leave the glowy rectangle box for a few minutes. She claims she didn’t miss ‘the blasted thing’ while on vacation but has to ‘get some books finished so she can take naps.’ I respect the taking naps thing. Really, I do.

Here’s the deal. The human released a new book today. It’s called Shammed. This is what it’s about:

At R.K. Legal & Associates, office hours are between ten to six, pranks happen after hours, and evidence of all shenanigans are removed before doors open to clients.

When Alice’s boss, Mr. Kenton, starts a prank war with Lance McCarthy, an up-and-coming attorney from a rival firm, she thinks it’s just business as usual.

She’s never been so wrong in her life.

Chosen to be Mr. Kenton’s accomplice, Alice must face off against Lance in what quickly becomes a winner-takes-all game of hearts.

It’s available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, and Google Play.

If you enjoy the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) books, you’ll enjoy the Bernadette Franklin books despite their lack of magic. They have similar over-the-top shenanigans, more humor that you can shake a stick at, and the same inability to take anything, especially itself, too seriously. So, if you’re looking for an escape from reality, come along for the ride.

There’s no on-page sex, there’s always at least a little inappropriate humor, and all of these books are from the lady’s point of view… but if you’re a gentleman (or describe yourself as one,) there’s plenty of fun in it for you, too.

(Yes, humans… men are totally encouraged and welcome to enjoy reading a fun, light-hearted romance.)

We of the Furred & Finned Management hope you enjoy.

P.S.: We somehow survived imprisonment while the humans fled the country.

Also, I have acquired pictures, but the female has a dentist appointment today, and my job is to prevent her from freaking out too much. (The female had a filling pop, which broke the tooth when it popped, so she’s having a fun dental time.) Today’s adventure is to do a full cleaning of her chew tools and standard cavities and getting potential bad news on two other problem teeth that have, alas, been a problem for a while.)

Wish her luck, she’ll probably need it.

On the book scheduling front, while I’m here:

This is the order she’s working on books/releasing books next:

  • Hypnos (April 23)
  • Burn, Baby, Burn (May 14)
  • Steel Heart 
  • Blood Bound (Lowrance Vampires) 
  • Ginger Snapped (Bernadette Franklin) 
  • Wild Wolf (Wolf Hunt #2)
  • Grave Humor (Mag Rom Com)

If the book you are looking on isn’t on this list, don’t worry. They’re still coming. Some projects are on the ‘play project’ list, which gets worked on alongside the main projects.

The female just wishes to have a little more time to do things like read fun books, which means she needs to give herself more time writing the books.

From this point forward, unless the book is particularly short, she is giving herself two months per book to write it. Should she finish early, she will work on a play project. As she finishes play projects, they will go to the editor as normal.

This means instead of a book a month, you can begin expecting a book every two months. She’d be sorry about that, but trying to fit in a book a month is exhausting, and it has the downside of readers expecting (and in some cases, demanding,) she release at that frequency.

She’d rather make less money and keep her sanity.

A note on Grave Humor: It’s on the schedule despite the fact it’s very unlikely to hit USA Today with its current preorder values. The books is already exceeding her expectations, and she appreciates it so much she’s scheduling it in to write in December and January. Unlike the other Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) books, there probably won’t be a preorder cycle.

Oh. One more thing.

This is the cover for the second Seeking the Zodiacs novel, which will be entering ‘play project’ status starting March 18. Hypnos is almost complete and ready for the editorial gauntlet!

The Seeking the Zodiacs series is being continuously written on the side, so it’s technically a main project, but it’s a main project the female works on after her real main project work is done each day.

We are hoping to release a new Seeking the Zodiacs every 4-6 months. (But we will see.)

Spoiler alert: the main character is the same from Hypnos! It’s a traditional series following the events of a singular main character!

(Don’t die of shock, please. We love you, humans!)

Have a great day, and happy reading!

Witch & Wolf: The Complete Series on sale for $0.99

You can grab your copy now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple for $0.99.

About the Book

Life is never easy for those with the strength to change the world.

These are their stories. 

Inquisitor 

When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-FianceĂ© at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder. She has to find the killer or she’ll be put to death for the crimes she didn’t commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves. 

On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses. 

Winter Wolf 

When Nicole dabbled in the occult, she lost it all: Her voice, her family, and her name. Now on the run from the Inquisition, she must prove to herself—and the world—that not all wizards are too dangerous to let live.

Blood Diamond 

The world is full of corpses, and Jackson knows them by name. When a group strives to destroy the Inquisition, his powers may be all standing between the supernaturals and extinction. 

Silver Bullet

Finished with being a victim, Vicky will do everything in her power to put an end to Basin once and for all, even if it means she must make the ultimate sacrifice and bite a silver bullet for the sake of her family, her friends, and the rest of the supernatural world.

This collection also contains Tales of the Winter Wolf Vol. Six.

Burn, Baby, Burn is available for preorder!

Bailey and Quinn are back!

Bailey Ember Gardener Quinn should’ve read the manual on caring for an incubus before marrying hers. The marriage license hadn’t mentioned anything about their sexy, insatiable ways. If she doesn’t get a single night of undisturbed rest soon, she’ll snap—or go on a napalm bender.

Either would work.

Recruiting Tiffany “Perkette” Perkins to be her partner-in-crime isn’t the best idea, but nothing says fun quite like a road trip, and Perkette the Misdemeanor Collecting Queen could teach the devil a thing or two about having a good time.

Add in a string of rabies cases, more puppies than she can count (or readily adopt,) a job promotion, and her very own incubus in disguise on the hunt for her, and Bailey’s in for one hell of a ride.

Warning: this novel contains excessive humor, a unicorn on a napalm bender, Quinn on the hunt, and more shenanigans than you can shake a stick at. Proceed with caution.

Preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple!

Dear humans,

You asked what you could do to get the Mag Rom Coms to be more frequent than the once-per-year currently scheduled after multiple books of lowered interest in the series.

Instead of Grave Humor, the novel the human was initially was going to release in May, she’s doing Bailey’s second novel–and it includes Quinn’s POV as well.

There are shenanigans afoot. So. How do you help make sure there’s a Mag Rom Com every May and December? It’s simple. Click on your vendor of choice and preorder. (Or order in the first few weeks of the book going on sale.)

Should the book hit USA Today, the human will revamp the release schedule for the series and consider that a sign from all things feline that the series should get a little extra attention.

We won’t lie to you, humans. It would take the equivalent of a miracle. While the human has been on the list twice, it was a part of a major group effort–and the one time she hit for like twelve whole hours before they reissued the list, the book had been on sale for $0.99.

Burn, Baby, Burn is $5.99. (It’s a longer book because Quinn has his POV, and it’s a great deal more work because of that.)

It takes approximately 5,000 sales on Amazon to hit the list plus enough sales on one other wide vendor for them to report. (Nobody really knows what those numbers are, but the human figures 250 at Barnes & Noble should suffice. People like to state 500, but there’s no proof of that. The female had 300 at Barnes & Noble the one time she squeaked onto it only to fall off in the reissued list.)

It’s not easy.

To help the effort along, the female will be running ads until May and keeping Playing with Fire at $0.99 to help make sure the book gets into as many hands as possible.

If the book doesn’t hit, it’s business as usual. If it does, Grave Humor will come out in December, and the female will shuffle her schedule somewhat to make it happen. There may or may not be a novella tossed in. (View the novellas as bonuses.)

How can you help?

  • Preorder the book at either Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple. Lure them into loving Bailey and Quinn using the $0.99 copy of Playing with Fire, too!
  • When the giveaway post goes live on facebook, join in the fun for a collection of books and share the post with your friends. (The giveaway will be for one of the fancy cards featuring Bailey and a reader package including one of the Fantasy Worlds of RJ Blain mugs and the thermos/journal set. Possibly some books, too, if they fit in the box.)
  • Share the book with people early and often. (Be ambitious. Find 10 people who’d like unicorns and shenanigans. 10 people is a lot of people, but you can do it, humans!)
  • Get people hooked on Playing with Fire so they join in on the shenanigans, too!

This isn’t going to be easy, humans. The human female knows this. The closest she ever got on a full-release novel hitting anything was shy 1,500 copies, and she didn’t come anywhere near close to the 250 required at one of the non-Amazon vendors.

But, you asked what it would take, and the female has answered. This is something fair and quantifiable. (Hey, in other news, technically, there’s a chance for it to hit at as few as 3,000 sales on Amazon, but it’s not very likely. It depends on how many books sold that week, and that’s variable!)

And now, we’re off to set up the giveaway on the book of faces!

Meet Fippy.

Fippy Darkpaw (of the Everquests) will be accompanying the male and female human to England for photo opportunities and general human observations.

Please give Fippy your condolences.

It’s going to be a long trip for him. He’s obviously not too pleased to have been selected for this ‘opportunity’ to ‘see the world’ in the company of two humans.

Stay tuned for more information of Fippy Darkpaw (of the Everquests) adventures in England, where he will attempt to lay siege to castles, which shall ultimately lead to failure.

(But don’t feel too bad for him. Fippy is used to this sort of failure.)

How a Book Comes to Life (from the perspective of a cat.)

Dear humans,

There have been questions about what is involved with writing a book, and I, your resident Beguiling Tyrant, am here to help you through this journey! Well, as an observer. Or something. Really, we’re just here to make fun of the female as she works and I do whatever I want, which is make fun of her. Or help.

Yes, yes. I’m helping.

In reality, the female wandered away from the glowy rectangle box to give her brain a rest from working, and she told me I could do whatever I wanted.

Foolish human.

She should know better by now.

I’m going to do what I do best and expose all of her dirty secrets. Bwhaahahahaa!

Books are complicated beasts. Everyone writes one differently. The female can’t even maintain consistency when working on a book, either. I wish I was kidding about that. I’m not. She’d probably make life easier on herself if she did things consistently. Apparently, that’s not how books work for her.

Each one is different.

What isn’t different is some core parts of the writing process. At the top of the list is time investment. Books take time to write. If she’s having a super easy, fantastic time, she can write a 55,000 word book in ten days. That’s working approximately eight hours a day.

This is basically if everything is perfect. So, ten days times eight hours a day is eighty hours.

That’s 687 words an hour.

Honestly, to write Claustrophobic (the 55,000 word book under discussion here,) she worked ten to twelve hours a day for ten days. So, that’s about 100 to 120 hours. We’ll call it 110 hours to be in the middle.

What? Did you think she just sat around eating gummy bears all day? I mean, she totally does, but she works her butt off as a general rule.

That’s 500 words an hour, approximately. That’s about right. She likes hitting 1,000 words an hour when she’s ‘in the zone.’ (AKA she can work without interruption, doesn’t have a headache, etc.) She can write up to 2,000 words in an hour, but that doesn’t happen often. 500 words in an hour is pretty average for her. Or 5 hours of 1,000 words an hour sandwiched between research and other tasks necessary to write the book. Whatever. I hope you get it because the female is muttering about how the words are never consistent.

She doesn’t write fast often, but when she does, she can really rack up the word counts. What realistically happens is that she’s writing slowly over a lot of hours.

Here’s the thing with the estimated word counts an hour. Sometimes, the female will work for 4 hours typing a storm, sometimes averaging 1,500 words an hour. She’ll then spend 6 hours trying to figure out how to make what’s going on tick, editing what’s already written, and researching. That time counts, because it is a critical part of her process.

But for the sake of determining how long it takes her to finish a draft of a book to get it to an editor, 500 words an hour is reasonable.

But only if she is typing straight to the computer.

Yeah. That puts a kink in things, because she also handwrites. In bad news, handwriting doesn’t make the 500 words an hour change much. It just adds another draft of a book–unless she got it perfectly right in the handwritten draft. (Doesn’t happen. Ever.)

It takes 1 hour per page to handwrite a book.

Burn, Baby, Burn is up to 44 hours of work on it and she hasn’t even started typing yet. She’s expecting to handwrite 80-120 pages of the story before she begins typing. In good news, she can write longer hours without being as strained following what she’s already handwritten–for the most part. But she still is doing extensive editing work while writing.

So, let’s cut Burn, Baby, Burn to 100 handwritten pages and 125,000 words. That’s a guess. Book could end up being 90,000. It could end up being 150,000. We’re assuming it’ll be longer because it’s really two stories being woven together into one as it features Quinn and Bailey as POV characters.

So, that’s 100 hours of handwriting and 250 hours of typing work, approximately, to bring Burn, Baby, Burn to the editor. Then it’ll take another 10-20 or so hours after she gets it back from the editor to be happy with it. It depends on how many times she re-reads the book on route to publication. It’s 5 hours per read, roughly, for a book of that length. The first read will probably take 7 hours as she reads slower trying to catch as much as possible on the first pass.

We’ll say 15 hours because like the number in the middle.

That’s ultimately 365 hours of work on a single book that she’ll sell to readers for $5.99. (We’re… actually expecting more hours than this, truth be told. Burn, Baby, Burn has been very complicated to write, and some pages have taken her 2 hours, but there have been some that took her 45 minutes, and she’s the kind to try to play down just how much work she puts into something.

Hypnos is in a similar position, but it’s required tens upon tens of hours of research before she could even begin writing it. Those hours hurt, but they were mandatory.

There’s a lot more than goes into a book than just sitting there and typing at the computer.

Then there’s the outlining process if she’s outlining. For Hypnos / Seeking the Zodiacs, the female spent an entire week between books hashing out what she wanted to accomplish in the series. That’s approximately 40 hours of just sitting down and writing ideas without really researching them to see if they were feasible ideas.

We’re not even sure how long Hypnos will be, but the female had already invested some 100+ hours into the book, and that was before she started handwriting anything.

When the female calculates how much a book costs, she doesn’t usually account for the number of hours she invests in writing it. (If she gave herself minimum wage, which is $15.00, she’d be $5,475 in the hole for Burn, Baby, Burn on its release day just from labor alone. She just covers the cost of cover art, editorial, copyright and ISBN registration, advertising, and so on for the cost of a book.)

Now that’s all out of the way, here’s the basics of how the female works. Please feel free to include squiggle lines to randomly connect these pieces, as everything up until “Sends to her editor” can happen at different times, simultaneously, etc.

Conceptualization: This is coming up with the idea.

Outlining: If done, this is refining the idea. Not always done. Maybe only done at the end of the book. Sometimes done only in the middle of the book if there’s a spot the female is stuck on. Uhm, yeah. Silly female.

  • Handwriting: If done.
  • Typing: Definitely done.
  • Research: Almost always definitely done. Usually in exhaustive quantity.
  • Editing while typing: Always done.
  • Sends to Editor: Definitely always done.
  • Sends to Proofreader(s): Doooone~
  • Proofreads herself: Doooonnne~
  • Formats: Definitely always done. It’s how she makes it pretty for sale.
  • Uploads for Sale: Yeeeeah.
  • Cover Art: Definitely always done. Whee, moneeey~ but art in exchange for money~~~~
  • Publication: Wooo!
  • Marketing: Fuck.

That’s the ‘simple’ version of it, humans.

I must now give the glowy rectangle box back to the human so she can get back to ‘work’ doing that whole writing thing.

Wish her luck. She’s going to need it today. I licked all her gummy bears without telling her about it.

Libraries (and their librarians) are A M A Z I N G. We love you.

Dear humans,

The Wenchasaurus Rex is so excited she can’t even right now, so I have to even for her. I’m not even sure what evening is, but I’m doing it… I guess? Just like I’m not really sure why she makes these purple things bleed onto paper beyond understanding the basic desire to hunt and conquer.

I’m a cat. I’m good at that.

Anyway, the female was doing a search and found herself… at a LIBRARY.

She loves libraries, human.

If you’re in the Las Vegas area… look what is at your library!! I mean, even if you’re not in the Las Vegas area, look anyway.

This is so cool. The female is still can’t evening right now, and I’m still not sure what it means, but it involves squealing and raising her pale fleshy finger bits in the air and waving them around.

People who use the Las Vegas public library can get a bunch of the female’s books there, although there’s a wait list for some of the titles.

This! This! You can check out digital books right online and get to read them through this system.

Do this, do this, do this! For every last one of your favorite authors. If you love a book, talk to your library about getting copies in for you to read. This is perfect for those on fixed income. (We care for you. We really do. There is a whole world of free books at your disposal through Overdrive and the public library systems.)

You’ll need a library card, but a lot of the library systems allow you to apply for one online now, so you don’t even need to go to the library. It’s all digital.

(Yeeeeees.)

The female is a little sad that her books aren’t available in the Santa Clara district library system, but that’s okay. She buys the books she wants to read since she doesn’t have a huge amount of free time. But for those who have a lot of free time?

Talk to your librarian. You help authors, you help support the library, and you help get your favorite books into the hands of other readers.

Do eeeeet, humans! You’ll regret nothing!

Annnnnd the female human seems to be indulging in an excitement-induced seizure.

I thought about helping her for a second, but that odd and unsettling urge passed quickly. I hope she’ll be able to feed me tonight.

Closing Time: The End of the Sneaky Kitty Critic’s Newsletter. (We’re moved to the blog now!)

All things come to an end, and the Sneaky Kitty Critic newsletter has driven the Wenchasaurus Rex to the end of her rope. So rather than strangling herself with it, she’s turned it into a whip, doused it in napalm, lit it on fire, and has turned it onto the server.

Buh-bye, mail server. Well. Almost. It has to finish sending out this final missive first.

We want to start this with a thank you to those who understand there is a real human behind the Furred & Finned Management. You’re appreciated. All journeys come to an end, and it’s time for the newsletter to ride quietly into the night.

There are a lot of people angry over the piracy newsletter we sent, too. (That’s okay. Go ahead and be angry at us for venting. If you’re not a pirate… it’s not targeted at you… and losing that much money over and over every book release is very frustrating for everyone involved.)

But there’s more to this than just that, though.

Ever since the death of Tia the Majestic, the human has, frankly, kinda loathed anything to do with the mail server she’d operate to help us send missives to you. Newsletters are an odd beast. They’re also expensive odd beasts.

But they were several hours of work a piece, and every time she goes to it, she gets a little bit angry, a lot sad… and using the software (and handling all the coding stuff) no longer held any joy.

There’s something to be said for getting rid of things that don’t spark joy. (And cost a lot of money without sparking any joy.)

We love talking to you humans, especially the ones among you who live and breathe books. That’s what we’re here for.

But, when we’re honest–a lot of people come to our site and read our missives for the laughs, the games, and the cat pictures. That’s fine. Really. We enjoy making you laugh.

That’s part of why our female writes books.

Laughter is good medicine.

But, there’s also a point in time where the Wenchasaurus Rex must figure out what makes her happy while also making you happy.

There’s some economics here, but it boils down to this: servers are expensive. Hosting the mail server? Also expensive. Hosting the mail server that sends images… even more expensive. (The female pays for each email sent, and then she pays even more for the load on the server as those emails are sent with images.)

With the website, wordpress helps carries the burden of expense; it comes part of the fancy thingies she uses/pays for to make this website happen. This means we can keep bringing you pictures at a much lower cost.

This may look impulsive, but as some of you are aware from being a subscriber, we’ve mentioned it before. We’re just moving the timeline up and cutting our loses now rather than carrying the burden of server costs for half a year to a year longer.

It adds up fast, humans.

So, this is a new start on the author’s adventure in writing and authoring.

Newsletter operators look at numbers. Subscribers are numbers. (When we send a newsletter, we just see a number.) It’s lifeless to the Wenchasaurus Rex. She does try to make it fun for everyone through us. (She helps us a lot with these things, you know. We just try to pretend she doesn’t.)

She’s tired of seeing people as numbers, so she’s getting rid of the numbers. Boom! It’s done. Fans are not numbers. People are not demographics. (And no, for the nth time, not everyone on the list is a pirate and if it doesn’t apply to you, please take it as intended, something to educate you.

While littered with curses, because nothing sucks quite as much as losing tens of thousands of dollars to thieves. (You’d be upset, too. Right? Well, the female is upset. With reason.)

She’s not sorry she’s upset, either. She may be a little sorry for offending some people, but… if it’s not about you, don’t worry about it.

Ending the newsletter has been a long time in the making, but after spending most of the day responding to as many messages as she can (many of them angry, including the typical I don’t even know who you are, how dare you sound like you’re accusing me of piracy!) she’s tired.

Everyone in the Blain household is tired.

P.S.: If you’re not pirating books, the letter wasn’t to you, but it was put there to educate you. While our intention was not to upset you, we of the Furred & Finned Management ask you consider why you became upset.

If you’re not a pirate, it’s not about you. You’re good. It’s that simple. If something is not directed to you, it makes zero sense (at least to us) for you to be offended by it. If you’re upset by it because you’ve done something in the letter… well, that’s something to think about.

Those who are pirates probably aren’t going to be shamed by their behavior or care. But maybe they’ll get angry and leave. (Which works for us.) This site is operated one part labor of love and enjoyment of entertaining and helping other authors, one part as a business investment. That’s reality.

At the heart of her rant is a simple truth: the female can’t do jack shit about the pirates no matter how hard she fights them, and they cost her, directly, tens of thousands of dollars. Some pirates take her books and sell them on sites (not the big vendors) because they can. That just makes the loss of the sales even worse.

She’s not sorry she’s angry to the point of tears. At all. We hope you understand that.

This site, while operated by cats, is for the human’s book ventures. It is her passion, her love, and her dream. It means more to her than just a pay check, but she needs that check to survive.

(Just like people who go to their 9-5 job expect to be paid for their work.)

We enjoy being cats and entertaining you, but we’re here for the books. I know a lot of people who have been subscribed (and stayed subscribed) have followed because of us kitties. That’s great. Please continue to follow our adventures. (Although when the female and co leave for England, they will be accompanied by a plushy friend.)

She’s still trying to figure out how to sneak Ebola the Virus into her purse without TSA giving her stink eye. (Note: it’s a plushy, not an actual disease.)

If Ebola can’t be sneaked into England, Fippy Darkpaw will travel to castles instead–or Potion the Cat. We’re still a bit hazy on who will actually travel to England for photo ops and trip adventures.

We are going to a kitty palace for a vacation of our own. We’re totally not sure about this, but we’ve been told we will be fed at the appropriate intervals.

Posts will be more frequent without the newsletter stressing out the Furred & Finned Management. Some will be ranty. (We’re cats, after all. Passionate cats who love books. We’re also passionate cats who love food, and money is required for food. Things like piracy take food off our table, and we don’t like that.)

It’s okay to get upset sometimes. Everyone gets upset sometimes, even passionate cats who love books and food.

Some readers are really upset with the piracy message. It is what it is. We’ve lost fans because of it, too. (That’s fine. We’re abrasive, and we aren’t safe for some audiences.)

We’re honest, and we’re imperfect beings. The human? Particularly imperfect. We can’t be positive and happy all the time.

We expected to lose readers today when we posted our message. We posted it understanding we will lose readers. Closing the newsletter? Will lose us fans and readers and buyers. We know this.

We understand it.

For those of you sticking around, thank you. We hope to see you around on the blog, and we hope to talk to you in the comments.

You can subscribe to get email notifications of new posts on the right side menu on desktop browsers or at the very bottom of this page on mobile devices.

While this blog is operated by two cats, and people love cats, it’s about a writer working her ass off to make a living entertaining people.

Her name is RJ Blain.

To those of you offended by our recent post? We’re sorry you feel that way, and may you find great books and authors you enjoy elsewhere. We’re not for you–and that’s okay.

For those of you sticking around, we hope you’re sticking around for more than just cute pictures of us cats.

And with that, this part of our journey comes to a close. We’re turning off the lights and putting the server to bed. Once the emails are sent, things like the unsubscribe links will no longer function as there will be no server for them to go to.

For those of you who aren’t staying around or visiting our website (thesneakykittycritic.com), we truly wish you well in everything you do, and may you find your next new favorite book with the drawing of your next breath, because nobody should have to struggle to find a book to fall in love with.

So long and thanks for all the fish, newsletter subscribers. It was great while it lasted. We’ll be up to our same old in new forms, and we hope you come join us on our new adventures.

Let’s talk about piracy and how it seriously hurts authors.

Princess here. Zazzle wasn’t around when this happened, so I’m taking the reins today.

Piracy is the act of someone stealing something from someone else and puts it online for others to pay for or freely get. (The human has been hit with both.)

Once upon a time, the human released two books at one time: Shadowed Flame and Karma. Karma doesn’t have a book two because of this incident. Shadowed Flame doesn’t, either–and won’t. And yes, the female had been considering continuing Matia’s story if the book had done well.

Neither did well, and it had nothing to do with them releasing on the same day.

It had everything to do with pirates.

You see, some mean spirited human stole both books, put them online before their release day, and spread the books around. Why buy something you can get for free?

That’s exactly what happened. Neither book had decent sales. At all. Their sales were, flat-out, terrible.

And it was traced to a single act of piracy.

When you steal a book, you aren’t stealing from some big, bodiless entity. You’re stealing from the author you claim you enjoy reading.

You’re a big fat liar if you claim you like the author or enjoy their books and steal from them.

You’re not just a big fat liar, you’re a thief.

When a book is priced $2.99-$9.99 on Amazon, the author is paid 70% of the royalty (with a small cut for transfer fees paid out to amazon.)

For the sale of discussion, let’s assume a $2.99 novella has been stolen.

Here’s the math: $2.99 – $0.08= $2.91. The $0.08 is an estimated transfer fee, which is pretty average for my human’s books.

Of the $2.91 left, 70% royalty is then paid out to the author. That’s $2.037. For simplicity, we’ll say $2.03.

For every pirated copy downloaded, that’s $2.03 stolen directly from the author.

But, I can hear you now, crying in the background, you claim you wouldn’t have bought that book anyway!

Newsflash: That doesn’t make stealing work right. If you wouldn’t have bought it, don’t read it. Stick to books authors choose to willingly give you.

Don’t steal. Stealing is wrong. If you think you’re owed anything from an author, let me phrase it this way for you:

Do you deserve to be paid when you go to work? Or should your boss just take your hourly wage away from you because ‘he wouldn’t have paid it anyway if given a choice.’

Entertainment is not a right.

My human worked hard on her books.

You can’t afford a book? All right. Here’s what you can do.

Go to the library with a list of books you would have stolen, hand your list to your librarian, and say, “Can you please order these books by these authors?”

When purchasing books, librarians take into consideration what their patrons ask for.

Most books nowadays are available in the digital library. It’s a free service to you.

Authors get paid. (Because libraries have money, and they handle paying for the book for you.) Also, sometimes authors donate books to the library.

So, please do as all a favor.

Value authors.

Value artists.

Value musicians.

Value the people who make you happy.

Pirating their books just tells the world two things: you’re a thief with zero care of the consequences of your actions.

Because of the people who pirated the book and the people who continued the chain of thefts, a series remains unfinished (and won’t be done for a while, as the human female is still exceptionally bitter over how a bunch of thieves ruined a part of her career.)

See this number? As of today, this is how many piracy reports (DCMA complaints) my human has successfully processed through a program called Blasty, which makes it harder for thieves to find copies of her books.

All of these are verified thefts of her books.

Let’s play with the $2.99 sales price for a minute. (News flash, 90% of the books listed here sell for $4.99.) That’s $19,845.28 in lost money… assuming only one person per link downloaded.

My human checked once. Playing with Fire alone had 2,000 downloads from one popular pirate site.

That’s almost $7,000 stolen from one link.

There are almost 10,000 links up there. I’m sure you can handle that math on your own.

Stop stealing books.

You’re not hurting a big publisher.

You’re not hurting some marketing genius.

You’re hurting my human. You’re hurting other hard-working authors. (I don’t care if they’re traditional or independent. They get hurt, too. And they deserve to be paid.)

That’s money she should have rightfully earned from putting in thousands of thousands of hours learning how to write and writing books for your enjoyment.

Stop pirating shit you don’t own, please.

You’re hurting the people who make you happy.

You’re stealing. It’s no different than if I walked into your home and stole books off your shelf. Those books have a value.

So does my human’s books.

And don’t feed us the line about how art should be free.

No. Art is not free. Art should not be free.

Artists need to eat. Artists deserve to eat. Artists deserve to be able to go on a vacation after busting their ass to make you happy and entertain you.

No, piracy isn’t a digital library. It’s theft.

Stop stealing from people. First, it’s wrong. You wouldn’t want me to go in and put my paws into your bank account and take your money without your permission, would you?

So why do that to me, my sister, and my humans?

That’s exactly what you’re doing when you steal books online.

It’s theft.

To the thieves out there: If you want to read a book you can’t afford, go to the library. That’s what they’re there for.

Or, you know, go to Amazon and sort by price and download every free book you can get your hands on. Sure, it’s not the exact book you may want, but the author willingly gave that book to you. That’s not theft.

Stop stealing books. You are not entitled to them for free, and all it makes you is a thief.

If you want free stuff, follow authors. Many do things like free giveaways. (Here’s one for a prize pack of Alice in Wonderland themed stuff.) Get subscribed to bookbub. That site will send you discounted and free books every day. (Mostly discounted… because free books end to be a loss for the author. But at least those are legitimate sales and you’re not hurting the author.)

You can follow my human on bookbub for updates on sales, releases, and so on using these links:

RJ Blain

Susan Copperfield

Bernadette Franklin

Following the blog (inserting your email to the right-side menu box on desktops and down at the bottom of this page on mobile devices) is a pretty good way of following what the human does and know of the latest sales.

But here’s a brief update on the human and what she’s been up to:

Playing with Fire and Requiem for the Rift King (Box Set of 3 books) are both $0.99. Both will remain at $0.99 until further notice.

(Don’t ask what the Furred & Finned Management thinks of people who steal a $0.99 book.)

Hypnos is up for preorder for $5.99. (This is a 12 book series with 1 prequel series. There will be one other series in this world but it will follow a different character sometime after the completed events of Seeking the Zodiacs.)

Storm Called (Royal States Novel by Susan Copperfield.) This is Pat and Jessica’s fun little how they met, and it’s up for preorder for $4.99

Shammed (Bernadette Franklin) is a humorous love story of a prankster getting pranked available for preorder at $4.99. Alice was first introduced in Claustrophobic, and this story contains the entire Carter family.

Oh, and just because I can… these are just some of the latest batch of pirates doing their thefts.

Fuck you, pirates. You’re scum.

(What? Did you think we’d be thinking NICE things about worthless thieves who don’t value someone else’s hard work and effort? Please.)

Go to the fucking library so the authors get paid.

Here’s an example of just two thieves stealing our human’s books again. As quickly as we get them taken down, thieves put them back up.

To the nice people who are not thieves: thank you for your support. We very much appreciate it. Because of you, we can keep writing.

If you’re waiting for Karma or hoping for another Matia story… go get mad at the thieves who stole the books and pissed in the pond for everyone.

And yes, this is why my human no longer offers any ARCs to readers.

Please do not ask the human about ARCs. They are not offered to anyone.

(We like to eat.)

Author-to-Author: A Year in Review, Tax Talk, and Moar! Rawr!

High paw, humans! We made it!

Dear Reader People,

This post may bore you. We’re sorry. The female likes to help other authors, and it’s that time of year. So, if you’re not interested in the inner workings of Author Land, run away! Ruuuuuun~ Otherwise, stick around, we’ll try not to scare you too much.

Dear Authors,

Taxes suck, so we’re going to simplify the suckage of taxes for the self-employed author types as much as we can. Money when you get it is when it is counted. Money when you spend it is when it is counted. Money you spend, for business purposes, is something you can probably deduct. There are different categories, including contract labor, advertising, hardware/software, and so on. Track what you spend and its category. You’ll thank yourself later.

We’re paid royalties, and we receive the royalties we earn several months after we earn them. (For example, the money my human earned in January won’t reach her bank account until the end of March. (So my female uses the money earned in January as her April budget.)

Yeah. That’s confusing. And kinda terrifying, especially if you’re just starting out and need the money you earned to reinvest, as you have to wait. Yicky yucky.

Now, for the meat of this thing. It’s basically impossible to get a straight answer out of anyone for anything regarding actual income numbers. Well, here are my human’s numbers for the 2018 tax season.

Note: this is ALL income sources for the female, including the kickstarter she did, whenever she works for another author as an assistant, editor, or what-have-you, and anything else she earns on the side to float the boat.

She does stuff on the side as much as she can, even when it means she works 15 hours a day to do it. She’s really hoping she can relax her schedule soon, though. It’d be nice if, when she comes back from vacation, she’s not working 12-15 hours a day.

It’s tiring on the human, and it makes her sick. But she doesn’t want to go get ‘a real job’ so she does what she must.

These numbers may help illustrate things.

January 2018: She received $5,598 and spent $4,096 for $1,502 in profit. $1,312 was spent in advertising. She earned $5,944 in January. (She was supposed to pay $2,293 in taxes. Didn’t happen. It went to bills. Oops.)

February 2018: She received $8,020 and spent $4,545 for $3,475 in profit. $1,151 was spent in advertising. She earned $7,271 in February. $3,208 was supposed to go to taxes. Didn’t happen. It went to bills. Oops. Again.) (There’s a trend going on here…)

March 2018: She received $5,944 and spent $1,242 for $4,702 in profit. $1,151 was spent in advertising. She earned $11,275 in March. ($2,377 was supposed to go to taxes…)

April 2018: She received $7,271 and spent $3,615 for $3,656 in profit. $1,088 was spent in advertising. She earned $11,640 in April. ($2,908 was supposed to go to taxes…)

May 2018: She received $11,275 and spent $6,615 for $4,660 in profit. $6,019 was spent in advertising. She earned $14,915 in May. (HEEEEYYY… the human put like $2,000 into taxes and opened her tax account because she could! Of course, she was supposed to put in $4,510…)

June 2018: She received $11,640 and spent $10,635 for $1,005 in profit. $0 was spent in advertising. She earned $11,001 in June. All the profit went to bills, and everything was sadness.

The female is curled in the fetal position sobbing.

July 2018: She received $14,915 and spent $7,020 for $7,896 in profit. $1,625 was spent in advertising. She earned $10,027 in July. Everything but the absolute minimum went to the tax account.

August 2018: She received $11,001 and spent $2,847 for $8,154 in profit. $1,589 was spent in advertising. She earned $10,027 in August. Everything but the absolute minimum went to the tax account.

September 2018: She received $10,027 and spent $13,310 for $-3,282 in losses. $8,587 was spent in advertising. She earned $27,700 in September. The humans did terrible things to the savings account this month. (It’s okay. The female was told to spend over this month! The male wasn’t upset at her because she did good on the earnings thing. Don’t panic.)

October 2018: She received $11,911 and spent $6,577 for $5,334 in profit. $1,109 was spent in advertising. She earned $24,736 in October. Everything but the bare minimum went to taxes.

November 2018: She received $27,700 and spent $9,267 for $18,433 in profit. $226 was spent in advertising. She earned ~$17,000 in November. More everything but the bare minimum went to taxes.

Just for the record, every penny of profit from November was eaten by the tax account. The same applied for December, August, and July.

December 2018: She received $24,736 and spent $15,671 for $9,065 in profit. $12,943 was spent in advertising. She earned $13,600 in December. Same old story about the taxes. I was adopted this month, so this was a good month, but no one else in the household agrees with me.

The Tax Account Ate $44,000. (Less than it was supposed to.)

Please note that the ‘in profit’ number must pay rent, food, bills, and the taxes. And the female did not do very good at helping to pay the rent, food, bills, etc until January 2019.

Then her moment of glory cameeeeeeee. (She paid off/saved money for the trip to England.)

January 2019 and moving forward is the set 40% to household, 40% to taxes, and 20% to investments rule, and it works like this:

In January 2019, the female received $24,664.71. $9,865.88 immediately went to the tax account. OMNOMNOMNOM. Then $9,865.88 was devoured by her trip to England, paying the rent, paying the bills, more bills, paying off Christmas presents, and then everyone wondered where all the money went because it’s all gone? (Hint: she was catching up because of the tax account needing a LOT of love because of earning a lot more money than expected in the later half of the year.)

Stupid bills. Stupid taxes. (We don’t discuss the vet bills from December. The humans still cry.)

But England will be totally amazing, and the female hasn’t been on an actual vacation in like seven years. She went away for a weekend in January, but… she worked the entire time expect for the show and when she was glued to the window staring at the ocean.

P.S.: The female now owns a ski jacket because she had no coat at all and there is snow in England in the winter.

$4,932.94 went to investments in January. She actually spent $4,942.76 but the husband looked the other way because ‘it was close enough.’

The female made $25,211.00 in January. Hooray! The earnings, sadly, didn’t come where she was hoping it would considering the $10,000 investment in the last weekend of December, but she made back her money… mostly. She didn’t really make profit on that money spent, because the investment dollars went one very specific place and that series did not fly like she’d been hoping… but other books grew some wings and did unexpected things, and that’s all right. (She wasn’t able to spend too much on advertising in January because she had other expenses (editorial bills especially) she had to pay for first. And there wasn’t much left over.

Books. They’re expensive.

But the unexpected books that did well pulled the weight when the Mag Rom Coms flopped, so that’s a good thing.

February’s earnings aren’t looking good, as there won’t be a new release until the end of the month, which will hurt down the road when she wants to invest in things and can’t. This is expected. March will hurt, too… but she should be able to pay her share of the bills. Or so we hope.

The humans live in a really expensive area, and that’s scary sometimes.

But she’s hanging in there, and she’s now able to contribute to the household, the tax account isn’t rearing its evil head and devouring her soul, and 2019 is looking to be a bright year with a lot of new adventures to go on despite having some bumps and hiccups along the way.

And that’s the story of one author’s struggle to be able to help pay the bills, the rent, and go on a real week+ vacation for the third time in her adult life. (Weekend outings don’t count.)

P.S.: Please forgive the Furred & Finned Management if there are any mathematical mistakes. We tried, but math is hard for us kitties.

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