Amazon’s Hall of Spinning Knives

As I get closer to publishing, these kinds of stories are frightening. Amazon makes unilateral decisions, doesn’t explain their rationale, and doesn’t give due process. They are, of course, a private business that doesn’t need to give due process, but they should realize that shaming people without giving them a chance to respond is bad for business.

David Gaughran

Phoenix Sullivan is well-known in the indie community – I’ve known her myself since 2009 or 2010 and consider her a close friend.

Aside from being exceptionally generous with her time and knowledge, tirelessly sharing her insights on marketing and algorithms, Phoenix is also well known as a vocal campaigner against scammers and cheaters – particularly on the current big issues of book stuffing and clickfarming.

And now she is being targeted.

Phoenix made a box set free for a few days back in September, advertising on Freebooksy, KND/BookGorilla, and Digital Book World – all legitimate sites – and there was no other promotion involved with this title. No BookBub CPM ads, no Facebook campaign, no tweets, no newsletter swaps, no mailing lists.

On the third day of her free run, Phoenix’s box set was rank-stripped by Amazon, a punishment normally reserved for those who have used clickfarms or bots…

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Don’t Kill Her – You’ll Just Make Her Mad

E. A. Copen is a great Urban Fantasy Writer. To be honest, I used to think that. Then I heard about her latest book, Beasts of Babylon, a Horror Western and I wondered why she would write something like that. I decided to read it even though I don’t like horror and I’m not a big fan of westerns. Ms. Copen is not a great Urban Fantasy Writer, she is a great Writer who knows how craft an intriguing tale that grips you from start to finish, no matter what the genre. She is on my “must read” list for sure. (Spoilers ahead)
I was weirdly fascinated by this story that slowly unveiled a town where the sheriff fought to hide the obvious, even though it had already cost him his wife, sort of, and their kids. His wife, Ana, on a mission from God or the Devil, who knows, Copen keeps us guessing there, doesn’t cotton too well to death. She keeps coming back from the grave to continue on her mission, which she thought, at first, was a mission to kill the paranormal creatures that had killed her and her children.
When she can’t get the sheriff, her husband (?) to get a posse to help her, she turns to the other side of the law. The problem with the wrong side of the law is that the right side of the law is tracking them down. When circumstances bring both sides into contact, everything comes to a conclusion as Ana and the others meet the creatures for life and death battles. The twist at the end opens the door for more from these characters, and I hope it comes soon. 

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

I’m not at the level of publication, yet, but if I were, I’d be mighty upset about this! Cmon #Amazon, do something!

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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A friend’s book needs your help! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these stories and know you will too. Check them out!


King Bewilliam needs YOU to nominate “The King’s Redress” for one of the 50 Books Worth Reading.
Or, just fill out this form right here (use the scroll bars to fill out the form with the book title (The King’s Redress) and the author name (Devorah Fox):

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So, after a week when I couldn’t come up with anything for the #WOW555 contest, I came up with something. How good is it? Well, that will be for you to decide! For this week’s prompt, your story must feature a strong woman in a moment of weakness. Check here for the latest updates, stories and the opportunity to vote! Please note that liking my story here will not count as a vote! You must go to Wendy’s place (see above link) and vote sometime between 8:00 Saturday morning and 6:00 Sunday night.


Mary hated cleaning. She looked at the mess and sighed. She’d need a while to clean up this mess. “Oh well,” she thought, “better get started. Then I can get out of here.” She looked under the kitchen sink and found the cleaning supplies. The worst stain was in the living room and she attacked that first. She started scrubbing and realized it would need to soak so she headed back to the kitchen and spot cleaned the drips on the kitchen floor.

She rinsed her rag and headed back into the living room to finish cleaning that stain, then stood up and grabbed at her back. It was a bit sore from the cleaning and she still had more to do. She headed towards the hall closet. The vacuum cleaner was ready and waiting. She pulled it out of the closet and turned it on. She almost didn’t hear the phone ring over the roar of the vacuum cleaner.

She turned off the vacuum cleaner and headed to her purse. She looked at the number on the phone and grimaced. Some clients were just so impatient. “Yes, John. I’m finished. All I have left is some cleaning.” She rolled her eyes at his response. “All I can say is that you’re the one calling me. I should be able to meet you in an hour so you can pay.” She tapped her foot. She didn’t like wasting time. If she had known he was going to be this much trouble, she would have charged double. “Of course I’ll let you see my handiwork. You’re dealing with a professional.” She stifled her laughter. “No, you don’t want to get me mad, that’s right. See you in an hour.”

She looked at the phone in disgust and went back to vacuuming. This place looked like it had seen a fight. That wouldn’t do. She vacuumed and straightened up as she walked through the living room and kitchen. Finally, the apartment was cleaned to her satisfaction. She carefully placed the cleaning supplies back under the sink. Then she took the vacuum cleaner and emptied it into her garbage bag before putting it back in the closet. She hated having to take the trash with her, but it did prevent complications.

“Now, to make final arrangements,” she thought. She looked at John’s former business partner sitting quietly on the couch. She looked around the area and smiled; nothing made it look like he had been dragged across the floor and placed there. She pulled the note out of her purse and looked at it, trying to find the best place to put it. Then she gasped. The note was written by a left hander. She had forgotten that he was left handed and shot him through right temple. She blinked back the tears that began to appear unbidden. She swore at herself. “All that work,” she said out loud. “All that work and they’ll know right away that he didn’t kill himself!” She picked up the trash, stomped out the door and headed to her car. She wouldn’t have time to stay in the city and savor her kill this time.

Stats Ain’t Everything – #WOW555

This week, the prompt dealt with people who can’t see the forest for the trees. In other words, those who can’t see the bigger picture. I’ve dealt with a tension of minor leaguers who are looking for a chance in the majors. Personal advancement vs. the good of the team. I wish I could have used more words! 🙂


Dylan smiled. The scout was coming down to the locker room tonight. He’d been waiting for the call to the big time for a long while. “Too long,” he thought to himself. He was surprised that he had lasted until #5 in the draft. He’d been down here at Double A for almost a month. Oh, perhaps they might send him to Triple A, but he knew he was headed for the bigs! His game tonight proved it. Two homers, five RBIs. “If it wasn’t for me,” he thought, “we’da been shut out.”

He looked over at Hank and shook his head. Hank thought he had a chance to make the bigs and he gave up three runs in the first inning. They still had a chance to win the game, “thanks to me,” he thought, until Freddie over there gave up that three run homer in the seventh. As he thought about his game though, he couldn’t help but smile. He began his list of people who needed tickets for his first game at Camden Fields.

He turned his head and looked back at his locker. He didn’t want his joy about his upcoming promotion to cause the other guys more problems even though he knew they’d miss him when he was gone. He slowly peeled off his shirt. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw him. Tony Bush, the lead scout for the Baltimore Orioles, was headed to talk to the skipper. It wouldn’t be long now.

After a few minutes the skipper came out of his office. “Garcia!” he yelled. Dylan smiled. He’d been having a good season. He’d need some time in Triple A, but he was ready. They looked through the glass. When Garcia smiled and shook hands with Bush, Dylan knew that he’d gotten the call.

“Johnson!” the skipper called next. Dylan was puzzled. Johnson wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t spectacular. Dylan raised an eyebrow when he saw Johnson smile and shake Bush’s hand also. Was Johnson heading up to Triple A also? Wow! He couldn’t help but think of what place they had in mind for him! He was more puzzled when the skipper and Bush came out of the office.

“Guys!” the skipper said. “Johnson and Garcia are headed to Norfolk. We’ll miss them, but congrats guys. You earned it.” The skipper and Bush shook hands and Bush started to leave. Dylan ran up to him and said, “Mr. Bush, I’m Dylan Frazier.”

Bush stopped and looked at him. A smirk crept up his face and he snorted. “Yeah, I know who you are, Dylan.”

Dylan smiled, not noticing that the other players were taking interest. “Oh, I thought.…” he hesitated, not sure of how to proceed.

“You thought your good hitting would get you called up.” Bush narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, you hit good, No question. If you make it to the Orioles, you’ll succeed.” He stopped for a second and then kept Dylan from asking any other questions. “You drove in five runs for us and you let two runs score for them by not cutting off the throw. You hit good but you missed an obvious bunt sign. You’re not a team player, son. The Orioles don’t need prima donnas, they need teammates. Garcia and Johnson – they understand teamwork. You don’t yet. I hope you learn with your talent. Until you do….” Bush shook his head, and went out the door.