Juliet Takes Off (Juliet Takes Flight #2) – Free Story!

Juliet Takes Off (Juliet Takes Flight #2) – Free Story!

Juliet Takes Off Un-Banned!

UN-BANNED!

Free! FREEFREEFREE!

In its infinite wisdom, Amazon has decided to give awayJuliet Takes Off,” the second story in my Juliet Takes Flight series, which last year it briefly decided not to sell at all.

Go figure!

In any case, I thought if they’re going to do it, why not follow suit! It’s one of my favorites among my own stories, and I’m happy to be able to share the goodness. 😉

The sequel to “Juliet Takes Stage,” it’s the story of how Allison (the Juliet of the title) got together with her teacher and Romeo, Ken. Jordan, who becomes very important later in the series, shows up too. 🙂

(Just so no one is surprised: this story is around 10,000 words long and contains scenes of sexually explicit M/F erotic romance between adults over the age of 18, UST, and sexual initiation. It is for adult readers only!)

Continue reading

SmutTalk: Censored! (Epilogue)


Guess what! Juliet Takes Off is back on Amazon. Because we edited a sentence in the description that mentioned Allison wanting Ken to “make her a woman” — which always sounded ridiculously Harlequin Romance to me anyway. So gone is the reference to :gasp: virginity, and back the story goes onto the world’s biggest slushpile/marketplace. Sheesh.

In any case, the story has NEVER gone out of circulation on the publisher’s site, so I wanted to give them this plug… And what do you think? Should we keep the “BANNED ON AMAZON!” banner on the cover?

Kobo still hasn’t reposted most of my publisher’s stories but has assured us that they’re “reviewing all titles to make sure that they adhere to [their] content guidelines…. Due to the number of titles that are under review, it may take a week or two before we can restore all of the books. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this.” Very nice. A week and a half too late. But still.

And “Bridget” is still off-line on B&N even though we’ve removed the offending word — “Virgin” — from the subtitle.

So. :twiddles thumbs:

Stillpoint/Eros post on Amazon and Kobo censorship


Stillpoint/Eros post on Amazon and Kobo censorship

Over the past few weeks, a series of denouncements online and, more particularly, in a British tabloid that we don’t choose to link to have thrown many of the major online ebook outlets into a panic. Accused of being incapable of detecting and deleting all instances of their “vile trade” in child pornography, rape smut, and plagiarism (all rightly illegal in the UK, the US, and the rest of the world), several major ebook marketplaces have taken a variety of knee-jerk steps to give at least the appearance of doing something. 

SmutTalk: Censorship Follies Play On!


Image

As has been reported elsewhere, Amazon’s ban-hammer has fallen on any erotic stories that mention virginity in any way. How do I know this? My story Bridget: Virgin Knot got booted with the same vague warning as Juliet Takes Off (which is, by the way, now permanently banned — w00t!). “Bridget” features two college students (so adults, of course), one of whom happens to be, see… a virgin.

Serves me right for trying to drop a Shakespeare quote into the title.

Also! Kobo suddenly dropped all of my Juliet titles — no warning, no nothing. My publisher emailed, and is waiting to hear back.

Still. I’m a bit bewildered.

ETA: B&N has also dropped “Bridget” without warning or notice. I’m guessing that some later-day Savonarola (or group thereof) did a trolling expedition through major US-based online stores and flagged anything with the word “Virgin” in the title. Go me. :-p

We’ve revised the cover and cut any reference to “sexual initiation” from the title or description:

Making Lemonade and a Cry for Aid


So my publisher just posted another new cover for Juliet Takes Off:

Juliet Takes Off shirt 1 BANNED!

 

Made me laugh. Whether it gets anyone to buy it is anyone’s guess! Still, if it worked for Ulysses here’s hoping it work for us!

ALSO: I’ve just finished a draft of the next story in this cycle, and I’d love to have one of you lovely people read it and give me some feedback. Comment or send me an email at kdwestwrites@gmail.com and I’ll send you the story, as well as your choice of one of my other ebooks or an Audible coupon code for Juliet Takes Stage!

W00T! I’m Censored AGAIN!

W00T! I’m Censored AGAIN!

So a week after letting Juliet Takes Off back onto their playground — after we removed the shocking word “sex” from the subtitle and replaced the cover image with a picture of a fully dressed young woman — Amazon has once again informed us that they are shocked — shocked! — to find that my erotic romance is too shocking to sell. WTF?

Not sure what to do here. The Audible audio recording is still up. It’s still up on B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, and of course Stillpoint/Digital.

Oh, and I’ve got a free-for-a-review give-away going on at GoodReads — in exchange for an honest review (there, or wherever you post such things) I’ll send you a copy of the ebook (Kindle or ePub) or audiobook of “Juliet Takes Off” and its companion piece, “Juliet Takes Stage.”

You can also sign up here:

So there you are! For a limited time YOU can see  — for free — the book that Amazon was so scandalized by! (And if you can figure it out, please, tell me! I’d love to know.)

SmutTalk: Censored! (The Post Script)

SmutTalk: Censored! (The Post Script)

Thanks to all of you, both for your support, and for putting up with my frothing at the mouth.

So Wednesday and Thursday’s uproar seems to have run its course. The hammer of the Amazonian gods has been lifted. The publisher resubmitted the book, having eliminated the word “sex” from the subtitle, and it was accepted. “Juliet Takes Off” is up for sale again. In fact, as nearly as I can tell, it never went off sale. So there’s that. Yay.

Unfortunately, we still aren’t sure that that AWFUL word was the cause of the ban. I got what seems to me to be a very likely suggestion from Selena Kitt, who wrote an excellent resource post for authors whose books are banned or stamped with the Scarlet Letter (that is, they’re classified as adult): Surviving the Pornocalypse: Erotica Writers Get Armed and Ready. Her thought was that Amazon’s ever-shifting standards (“about what you’d expect,” my ass!) may have morphed to include as ban-worthy covers that showed a naked woman’s back.

Let me reiterate that: an image of a nude female back may in fact be classified as indecent by Amazon.

Wrap your head around that one.

What are they going to do with Jacqueline Carey’s books?

Kushiel's Chosen

So the publisher went back and designed a bunch of new covers.

Here they go:

I actually like these a lot. (Yes, that’s Mary Cyn again, the same model from the original cover, and the lovely narrator of the Juliet audiobooks.) I have my own thoughts, but I’d love yours.

Mostly, I’m laughing, because I don’t think any of these is any less (or more) provocative than the first cover. But maybe that’s just me!

In any case, I’d love it if you’d go vote over at Stillpoint/Eros: http://eros.stillpointdigital.com/?p=918

Personally, I think that whichever one you guys choose, we should put a big BANNED ON AMAZON!!! label on it. What do you think? 😉

SmutTalk: Censored!


I feel like such a big kid now!

I just got an email forwarded by my publisher informing them and me that Amazon is pulling Juliet Takes Off from its shelves because it’s “in violation of our content guidelines.”

Those guidelines (as they pertain in this case)?

I quote:

  • Pornography We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
  • Offensive Content What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.

My publisher expressed bewilderment.

Me? I’m not bewildered; I’m livid.

I’ve obviously read and thought a lot about the distinction between erotica and porn. We’ve thrown around a lot of definitions, but here’s the one that’s in my head right now: sex in the service of the story or the development of the character is erotic; sex for the sake of sex (or $) is porn. Does that cover it?

“Juliet Takes Off” is certainly sexual — it contains an extended scene in which a young woman loses her virginity, and a framing sequence that’s quite explicitly sexual. But it’s absolutely nowhere near the line crossed by something like 90% of the Erotica section on Amazon. (The work of present company, obviously, excepted.) But the whole story sequence is focused on the growth of the two characters and their coming to terms with each other.

Pornographic? I don’t think so. I’d have called it literary erotica — how successful its literary pretensions I can’t say, but that’s the intent. Porn? No.

What actually bothers me even more is the “offensive” bit. Obviously, I’m mortified to have offended anyone — and I assume that someone flagged the story as such. But I have NO idea what in the name of all that is sexy could have offended anyone about this particular story. It’s a story in which two adult characters of opposite gender who happen to love each other have sex. Twice. By mutual consent. And it’s all pretty straight sex, in every sense. Oh — I guess there is a very quick hand job. Still. Offensive?

Amazon says their definition of offensive is “about what you would expect” — which means… what? Me, there’s only one thing I find truly offensive: the glorification or romanticization of non-consensual sex. What does that mean, you ask? Thank you for asking: non-consensual sex means any sex involving anyone incapable of saying yes (children, animals, the mentally retarded, coma victims, sleepers, etc.) or who has said no.

There are other things that folks find erotic that really don’t turn me on — things that when I was reading and writing fan-fiction I was astonished to find where very popular. BDSM, scat, all of that. I don’t find those things offensive; they just don’t do anything for me. Turn me off, even. But rape — statutory or vanilla — portrayed for teh sex0rs? That I find patently offensive. Also illegal in most countries including the US of A.

And the Amazon Erotica category is FULL of those. Here’s the link to a search on “rape” in the Erotica section. And here’s the search on “non-con.” How about some “forced sex“? A few of those are about rape survivors. But most? :-p

“Bestiality”? We got that.

Underage” shows up with only 17 hits. Yay!

“Chan” mostly shows Asian authors, which is a relief.

You want to know two things that really piss me off? Some of these stories outsell mine, for reasons that I can’t even begin to fathom; and these are all on Amazon but mine isn’t.

Ahem. Psst. As of this moment, Juliet Takes Off is still available on Amazon.

It also remains on sale on Stillpoint/Eros (the audiobook too!), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and allRomanceEbooks. And the audiobook is on Audible and iTunes.

Oh, and the Goodreads page is here.

And what the heck. Here’s the trailer:

 

There. I’m still furious, but I’m feeling better now.