Amazon Fail

I am so irritated with Amazon at the moment that I can hardly write this post. I've recently found out what it's like to be a published author with a book coming out that Amazon attributes to someone else. I keep trying to change the information, but so far they aren't budging.

The Prince's Royal Concubine is MY book, due out in March 2010 from Mills & Boon Modern. It will also come out in Harlequin Presents in the months after. Yet Amazon seems to think that my book belongs to Lee Wilkinson. How do these things happen? I wish I knew, but I'm having a heck of a time correcting it.

Want to see for yourself? Here's the US link and the UK link.

Nothing like slaving over a book and having it attributed to someone else! How would you feel? I know they can't forever call it someone else's, like when the cover comes out and they can clearly see it's mine, but I'm still pretty ticked off about this.

Amazon, give me back my book!

QUICK UPDATE: Thanks for all your words of support! I truly did not expect for folks to email Amazon on my behalf, but I do appreciate it! It seems as if they are in the process of correcting it right now. Hopefully it will be completed soon! 🙂

A rant, and then winners :)

Nothing frosts me more than watching someone who looks perfectly healthy, and who does NOT have a handicapped sticker, pull into a reserved parking spot. I know that people can look fine and yet have a legitimate reason to use that parking — typically, they have a sticker or something to hang from their rearview mirror. I don't automatically assume that someone who looks healthy is taking advantage. I know better because I've had family in that position.

But I still think it happens. And I think the lady who pulled into the handicapped spot at Starbucks the other day was doing just that. She had no sticker, no plate, and no placard.

She sat there for twenty minutes and talked on the phone the entire time. Not only did she talk on the phone, gesticulating and yelling, but she popped her visor down and proceeded to squeeze pimples on her face. No, I am not kidding. Unfortunately, my table was facing that spot, and each time I looked up, there she was, hollering into her phone and picking her face. It was awful.

And what did she do after she'd sat there for twenty minutes while other people had to drive around to find parking? She left and used the drive-thru. Never even came into Starbucks.

People like that give me ideas for characters, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. But I was angry for anyone who legitimately needed that spot while she hogged it (there is only one). And absolutely stunned that someone would sit in full view of a cafe in which they could see people sitting and pick their skin. Hell, I think at one point she pulled out some tweezers and plucked hair. I'm not certain, but I think so. All while talking on her phone. Amazing, huh?

And now for much more pleasant tidings! I've employed a scientific method (scrambling names and taking mine from the mix) to arrive at my two winners: Rachael Johns and Patricia!! Please email me at contact @ lynnrayeharris dot com with addresses and your choice of prize.

$10 gift card to bookstore (Amazon, BAM, B&N),
Presents trio, selected by moi from my stash,
My debut book when it comes out, signed, along with two other Presents novels (unfortunately, you will have to wait until mid-July or so, but I'm good with that if you are!)

Congratulations to the winners! Keep checking back, because I plan to have more giveaways, especially as we get closer to my new site launch!


A recent incident shocked me enough to realize that I need to remind any aspiring authors reading this to make SURE you vet the information you're getting before launching into a plan of action for conferences and/or submissions. Sometimes we accept the advice of well-meaning but misinformed people without knowing they are misinformed. It always pays to check for yourself.

While you'd think it wouldn't need to be said, here are some things you do NOT want to do:

1. Do NOT stalk editors and/or agents. Planning your time so you can “bump” into someone, and then refusing to go away, is not the correct course of action. Of course you need to be prepared, because there will be those elevator meetings sometimes, but don't haunt the restroom door in the hopes of running into someone. Or the buffet line.

2. Do NOT misspell names on your query. Names are kind of unforgivable since you should be able to check and double check the correct spelling — especially if you've gotten a business card from the individual. I once got a letter from a utility company that referred to me as Mrs. Barris. Jarring. And if you want to compare yourself to another author, use caution — don't say J.R. Rawling when you mean J.K. Rowling.

(Seriously, this should be obvious, but you'd be surprised.)

3. Do NOT take as gospel every word said by the woman sitting next to you at your RWA chapter meeting — even if she does seem to know a lot. If you're a PRO member, download those PRO booklets and read, read, read. Then ask questions of published authors (or experienced PROs) you TRUST to give you good advice. Check and double check, because if someone tells you to stand outside the restroom door or linger in the buffet line looking for a publishing professional, it's probably not the best advice.

(I did once listen to something someone told me when I was very green, even though my gut told me otherwise. The result was a rejection, of course. This was a long time ago, and believe me I learned.)

4. Do NOT send the same query for the same book to the same agent who just rejected it. Rework the query or submit somewhere else. Wish I could find the link, but I read a post last week about someone who kept submitting a query for an adult novel (not that kind of adult!) to a children's book agent. She finally got frustrated and wrote back telling him to stop because she didn't represent that type of book, which she had politely tried to tell him over the last several months. His reply? That she was an agent and therefore he would keep querying her because it was his job to query agents about his book. Talk about clueless! And, oh yeah, agents know each other. You can bet his name is now making a viral loop through Agentland as we speak. And not in a positive way.

5. Do NOT think you know it all. I've met these people and it's frustrating as heck. I know I don't know everything, but I'm pretty sure this stuff I just said is true. But you be sure and double check it before listening to me, you hear?

What kind of crazy advice have you ever gotten? Good advice? What sort of horrible hi-jinks have you seen at conferences? We've all heard the manuscript under the door story, but have you ever seen its equivalent? Thankfully, I haven't, but I know at least one person who I think would do it. Sadly, some people don't listen.

Things I hate

1. Synopsis writing. Seriously, it sucks.

2. Why? Because I don't KNOW what happens yet, darn it!

3. Wrote a synopsis for new book. Hate it. Book will not even remotely resemble synopsis. I know this from two books written for an editor now. Thankfully, she didn't freak out either time.

4. Writing a synopsis, even when I won't follow it, crushes down on my enthusiasm for the story like Dorothy's house on the wicked witch.

5. Must get over this and write story anyway.

6. Proposal nearly done, in spite of traumatic encounter with evil synopsisaurus.

Got any tricks for the synopsis? Any tricks for tricking yourself while writing it? Do you follow it once you've slaved over it? I used to try, but that only made things worse, so now I figure it's kind of like Captain Barbossa and the pirate code — guidelines to be followed when convenient or expedient. Or to be tossed aside when something better comes along. 🙂

The Big M

I don't usually talk about books much here but I just read one that irritated me so bad I had to rant about it. I thought the Big M was history. What's the Big M?

The Big Misunderstanding

Characters are kept apart by something that could be resolved with a conversation. Kept apart for a brief while over such a thing isn't unbelievable — not all of us suddenly jump up and demand to know the truth. We might labor under a delusion for a little while because we're still trying to figure it out in our heads and making sure we aren't jumping to the wrong conclusions.

But a misunderstanding that goes on for an entire book? Something that could have been solved with a conversation instead of the pages and pages of angsting over the past? I was seriously surprised at this book.

And I wonder if maybe I just didn't get it, if the fault is with me as a reader because the Big M didn't work for me or I wasn't able to see how deeply this misunderstanding would affect the characters' ability to discuss the truth. I'm just not sure.

I must say, however, that I've read other books by this author that were just fab, so I'm not put off entirely. I was just a little disappointed in this one.

I'm pretty positive I'm going to write things that don't resonate with all readers. Of course that bothers me because I am a perfectionist. Realistically, I know there will be those who dislike my work. I don't look forward to that, but I know it's going to happen.

What do you do when a book fails to meet expectations? Do you write the author off? Do you give him or her another try? What plots drive you crazy?

What is wrong with people?

I can't tell you the number of stores I've gone to the past few days and found shopping carts all over the parking lot. What is wrong with people that they can't walk the darn thing the few feet it takes to get to the cart corral? I'm so fed up with lazy people unloading their carts and pushing the things between the vehicles and leaving them. I couldn't even park in one spot yesterday because it had become a de facto corral — and the corral wasn't full and wasn't far away.

Do people really not care if their cars get dinged with these runaway carts? Or do they feel that since they are leaving, their car isn't in danger? Of course there are legitimate excuses not to take the cart back — sometimes a person is sick or hurt and just wants to get in the car and go. It happens — but not to every blessed person at the store on the same day!

I always walk the cart to where it's supposed to be. I even walk carts into the store when I get out of my car and there's a stray cart perilously close by. I still have a huge dent in my door where some lovely person in Hawaii shoved a car door or a cart into it and then skedaddled. It's just a dent, not missing paint or anything, so I still haven't had it fixed (2 years later). But I think about it every time I see stray carts all over the parking lot. Irritates me.

So, it's the holiday season and I'm ranting. 🙂 But in this season of giving and goodwill toward others, why are people so rude about shopping carts? Why can't they return it? For most of us, there is no excuse.

What bugs you about shopping this time of year? Is the rampant outbreak of homeless carts merely an Alabama phenomenon, or is it happening in your corner of the world too?