If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Pirates, the Bane of Writers Today

by Linda Rodriguez

The modern image of pirates today was formed by the movies, which chose to make them swashbuckling rebel heroes. In the past, however, pirates were terrifying bandits who hijacked ships and might or might not kill those on board, but always stole everything the ship carried and the ship itself, setting any passengers and crew left alive off in small boats to make their way to safety (unless they took them to their hideaway and held them for ransom). Travelers always feared pirates, much more realistically and viscerally than we now fear terrorists. But since Hollywood made them romantic heroes at the beginning of the 20th century, we've forgotten the real horror of piracy.

One would hardly think we could still equate pirates with romantic leads or endearing but moral scamps, but Hollywood has such a grip on us that we do. Even though modern pirates are even more brutal and less romantic than the criminals of the past. Now, however, they prey on freight or oil being transported because consumers seldom use ships for serious transportation any longer. Passenger ships are usually only for shorter vacation cruises around concentrated coastal locations in highly populated and protected parts of the world. Consequently, when we hear the term, “pirate,” we seldom think of these modern-day thugs or the real criminals that the ancient pirates were—instead we see popular comic or romantic characters. We even have a day for pretending to speak as the screenwriters have depicted pirates.

At the link below, you can find information about modern-day pirates with their machine guns and rocket launchers.


This is one of the problems I have with calling book thieves pirates. It allows them to feel like romantic rebel heroes when they're actually grubby crooks. But unfortunately, that seems to be the nomenclature in use today, so we must use it if we wish to be understood.

I recently received a Google alert for mention of one of my books on a pirate site. This is nothing new, unfortunately. It happens all too often. This mention, however, was on a bulletin board on one of the biggest pirate sites. I found a whole long page of discussion about my book. High praise, glowing recommendations to other readers—people even said my book had changed their lives and wanted other books of mine. Unfortunately, they wanted them for free, also.

As book piracy becomes a huger and huger problem, more and more writers are dropped in the middle of their series because their sales have plummeted. For most of them, a tiny percentage of the illegal free downloads, if actually paid for, would have saved their series and career. I have no patience with the folks who say blithely that those people who frequent pirate sites wouldn't have bought the books anyway. If even a tiny percentage did, that would make all the difference to those writers—and to the readers who love those books and have been supporting the series by buying them or checking them out of their libraries (which buy books). I also don't want to hear their second excuse, which is that all content should be free. When you work hard to write that content over months and years, you can decide to make it free. You have no right to make that decision about my hard work.

Pirates are thugs and crooks with nothing romantic, heroic, or comic about them. And the same goes for the book thieves, as far as I'm concerned.


9 comments:

Grace Topping said...

Unfortunately, there are always those people who want something for nothing. It's the same thing for computer software, music, and videos. People feel that because they haven't physically taken something that they aren't stealing. Wrong. These are the same people who would be appalled if someone accused them of stealing. But that is what they are doing.

Going back to the piracy issue, we recently sailed through the Gulf of Aden and areas known for piracy, and the ship actually held an anti-piracy drill and had guards and equipment on the decks to deter pirates from boarding. It was a bit unnerving.

Warren Bull said...

Romantic portrail of bloody criminals has been going on for a long time. Jesse James was quick and deadly, but even during his time some newspaper accounts made him out to be a hero. It is frustrating as a writer to see my work stolen. I don't know what can be done about it.

KM Rockwood said...

Grace is right, there will always be people who want something for nothing. Theft of intellectual property has always been an ongoing issue, and it's so much easier these days with the internet and pockets of the world where the pirates can hide.

I once ended up flying from Zanzibar to Dar es Salam because pirates suddenly appeared in the waters ion the ferry route, and as Americans we would be prime targets if the ferry were boarded. Flying Impala Air was an adventure in itself, but we made it.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Grace and KM, you both have some first-hand experience then with what the actual fear of piracy is in areas that are vulnerable. Not as romantic, dashing heroes

Warren, yes. It's so frustrating not to be able to stop these people from stealing our hard work, and the way so many of them rationalize it to themselves makes it even worse, I think. At least, the professional crooks know and admit they're crooks and don't try to cover over it with high-flown rhetoric about digital freedom, etc.

Margaret Turkevich said...

When we recently attended a Chicago street art fair, photography of the artwork and jewelry was forbidden.

Theft is all around us. I fully expect the photos I post on Face Book to be appropriated without crediting me (hint: I never post my best work).

Unless I plan to re-read a book, I borrow it from the library. I order in advance of publication date and sit on a huge waiting list (sometimes 1000+). I also recommend that the library system purchase certain titles. Library e-books and magazines are FREE. No excuse for stealing them.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Margaret, you're absolutely right.I don't know any writers who aren't perfectly happy to have people who can't or don't want to buy their books check them out from the library. There's no real need to steal.

Gloria Alden said...

I've been very aware of the real pirates that prey on ships because I keep up with the news. I'm also aware of the pirates who steal books. As far as I know, no one has stolen any of mine, but maybe they have and I don't know. I'm thinking that maybe as an indie published writer, I'm less vulnerable, but probably not.

You are right about being happy if people read your books by taking them out of a library. Because I'm indie published most libraries won't buy mine, I donate my books to the local libraries and even to one close to fifty miles away because a 91 year old woman I met told me her library didn't have my books. I gave her my first one, she liked it, so I donated the rest of my series to her library sending them to her so she could read them first.

I think it is reprehensible that anyone would steal a book that an author has slaved over for a long time to make it the best they can, and just as reprehensible to buy such books.

Linda Rodriguez said...

People don't buy the books from pirate sites, Gloria. They download them for free, so all of those people are stealing books.

Gloria Alden said...

Yes, I realize that now. I'd forgotten that part. Sorry.