Skip to content


The DRM-free site is up!

First of all, if you were one of the dozen or so people who bought Under Contract at http://store.helensaito.com — well, first first, thank you! But second, we've set up a redirect so that http://store.helensaito.com will now send you directly to the new, shiny, containing-two-books store, http://store.cufflinkworks.com.

Your login and password from helensaito.com will still work on Cufflink Works, and you will still have access to Under Contract! If you have any trouble with this at all, please email me at helen@helensaito.com, and I will fix it! The one thing that can get in the way of a lovely DRM-free setup where you can download a book as many times as you want is, of course, URL changes. http://store.cufflinkworks.com is the permanent site URL; the only reason I changed it at all is because, well, one of these days I may end up publishing something not by me. I'd rather have a non-name-specific web address and business name, in that case!

Anyway! Now that that's all out of the way…

Playing With Consent, available DRM-free in DOC, EPUB, HTML, MOBI, PDF and RTF!

As usual, it's very exciting for me to have this book up and running in a DRM-free version. I know it's never going to be as popular as the mass-market e-reader versions, but I'm happy to do it anyway… and hopefully, with all I've learned from doing it this time around, it'll be easier every time, and the gap between Kindle release and DRM-free release will shrink to just about zero with the next book. :)

Posted in Books.

Tagged with , .


Your turn, Nook owners!

Playing With Consent, now out for the Nook!

Almost all the files for the DRM-free store are ready to go (I'm just working on the formatting for the HTML versions!), and we'll be opening up the Cufflink Works store very soon!

Posted in Books.


Playing With Consent: Out for Kindle!

With apologies to those of you who may be waiting for a Nook or DRM-free copy — it shouldn't take me more than a couple of weeks to have those up and running. (Kindle is a little easier to typeset…)

Playing With Consent is now available for Kindle!

PWC is an anthology of five short-ish works, ranging from 4000 to 36,000 words. They all focus on the theme of negotiated consent play, and I loved writing every single one of these stories. :)

For more information, you can check out the Playing With Consent page, which has links to the Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de stores, as well as links to sample stories.

\o/!

Posted in Books.


A new title looms on the horizon…

I've been away a while, I know! It turns out I write better in a vacuum… well, a small enclosed location, anyway, which leaves surprisingly little room for blogging.

Which means there's a bright side to my total radio silence: I've been working on a new book, and it's very, very close to being completed and released for sale! :)

I'm hoping that this time around there won't be a delay between getting the Kindle, Nook, and DRM-free versions of the book out. However, we're migrating the DRM-free store to a new domain — when the migration's complete, you'll be able to find the new book (and the old one) at http://store.cufflinkworks.com, and if you had an account at http://store.helensaito.com, you should be able to log in with your HS.com account. No information is changing hands, by the way! Cufflink Works is still just me — I just wanted a less specific label name to, well, open up the possibility of publishing works by other authors in the future. The far future. The very distant future.

But that's not what this post is about! This post is about the new book, which is titled Playing With Consent. It's a collection of short(ish) works — five works, ranging from ~4000 words to ~36,000 words — all inspired by a single theme: negotiated consent play.

You can find out more about it here! And there is, of course, a sample story available. When the book actually hits virtual shelves, I'll put up a second sample story (on the grounds that people sampling the book from the Kindle and Nook markets should never have more or better samples than people who are visiting my blog, darn it).

You can expect to see an announcement about Playing With Consent's release by the end of the month! At this point, it's down to the typesetting and the website migration… ah, those little non-writing things you have to do when publishing independently.

Posted in Books.

Tagged with .


DRM-free version now available!

I am totally jazzed to be able to offer a DRM-free version of Under Contract. The book has the same content as the Kindle/Nook versions (save for the fact that the PDF, HTML, DOC and RTF versions don't have cover art built-in) and is priced at the same $2.99 as on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can find Under Contract at my own personal shopfronthere's the link to the Under Contract page.

The store is currently PayPal only, and the sales tax thing doesn't quite work right (it won't charge sales tax even if you tell it you live in Washington, which is fine, it just means we'll be paying it for Washington residents ourselves right now; that will change down the road, though). Please let me know if there are any bugs in the process.

We're working on other payment options (Google Checkout, Amazon SimplePay), but at present, projected sales don't come anywhere near the point where processing credit card payments ourselves would make any sense (at the moment, it would cost me at least double if not triple my expected revenue just to pay for the monthly fees involved in being our own processor). So it is rudimentary, but it's there, and if PayPal works for you, and you have been waiting for a DRM-free edition, you are now good to go. :)

Posted in Books.

Tagged with , .


Yeah, I'm gonna try that again next month.

So NaNo? As per usual, not happening for me. I have spontaneous amounts of energy for it, and then just peter out because I feel like I'm not writing enough. Writing requires a groove, and trying to force that many words per day is just not going to happen for me. I'll be resetting the bar at 500 words a day (ongoing, not just for December) as soon as I'm back from my holiday trip.

(On the bright side, the story is moving along fine, and I'm happy with what I'm getting out of the keys — it may not be happening at a 50,000WPMonth rate, but it's going nicely!)

90% of the time I write in NoteTab Pro, with occasional forays into gEdit (if I'm in Linux) or Google Docs (if I'm on one of Grant's computers), or, God help me, NotePad (if I'm on one of Grant's computers with no Internet). When something gets long enough I need navigation tools (outlining, chapter breaks, etc.), I'll switch to Word — but I delay that for as long as possible, because Word documents aren't nearly as small, light, and portable as good old text files. When I do use Word, I shut off almost every single autocorrect feature it has (everything from smart quotes to correcting and formatting text as I type), and I kill spell-check and grammar-check highlighting, too — too distracting to have on as I'm working. I do love Word's styles, though, which have made formatting for ebooks immensely easier over the last few years as I've gotten to know them.

As for breaking myself out of slumps, I have a few different software programs for that. Well, first of all, I have paper — sometimes the most effective way to break myself out of a slump is to grab a 1/2" binder, a sheaf of loose-leaf college-ruled paper, and a Bic Atlantis ball-point pen, preferably black, and try writing by hand.

But if I'd rather be on the computer, for whatever reason, I have had some really good results with DarkRoom. Generally I set it up to look as much like WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS as possible (or even further back, just amber monospaced text on a black background), and that seems to connect some circuit in my brain that says "COMMENCE WRITING NOW".

I've recently discovered TextRoom, though, which is very much like DarkRoom except that you can (but don't have to!) set countdowns to word goals and get a running count of your words. Those are great features (a constant countdown is great for me when I'm starting to work my way up to word count goals!), so I'm really looking forward to working with that program when I'm back from my trip.

What are your magic bullets for productivity? Do you have go-to software programs? Particular kinds of pen? Some kind of physical activity? Music?

Posted in Monday post.


Pretend it's Monday!

All right, so I missed a Monday post this week. I blame the sinus infection. I have pretty much been doing this all week:

Orange Cat sits in my lap and snuggles me.

It's a good thing Olaf is the magical hypoallergenic cat, since I don't think treating a sinus infection with massive amounts of kitteh snuggles would help much if I were allergic to him. At any rate, having a cat in your lap makes it kind of hard to write, too, and my NaNo wordcount is looking a little dismal. I expect it'll pick back up in another week or so, but by then it'll probably be too late to catch up.

So is NaNo a good idea for me? I kind of wonder. I work best when I have routine to fall back on, and I thought NaNo would be great for routine-building, but I think 1667 words, day-in-day-out, may have been a little overly ambitious for this project. I had great results with 750words.com, because 750 words seemed like a totally feasible amount to write every day. Not so much with 1667.

A do-it-myself-daily-word-count project might actually be the best possible thing for me. 500 words a day, counted on Twitter, perhaps? (It's good for me to start low and see about working my way up from there.) I'll think about it and come up with something the next time it's really Monday — Monday is always the best day of the week for me to start any new project.

(For the record, though, "Magnets" is now sitting around 23,000 words — which is both great and a little worrying. I'd envisioned it being a single, encapsulated book around the same length as "Under Contract", but looking at what I've written, what I still have left to write, and where the story's going, I'm not so sure this isn't two books in the making, if not three. On the bright side, writing three books back-to-back-to-back wouldn't be a bad thing at all…)

Posted in Monday post.


Worldbuilding

We're now a week into NaNoWriMo, and I'm actually enjoying it a lot. It's been fun revisiting characters from Under Contract, a lot of fun giving a little more screen time to characters who showed up in Under Contract but barely got a mention, and then there's the worldbuilding…

So I'll be honest here: worldbuilding tends to be a means to an end for me. I do worldbuilding as a way to fit the story I want to tell in an environment that fits it, which is very different from a lot of people, who want to tell stories about a certain environment, and figure out characters for that environment later, or who want to tell a story about a particular character in a particular environment and the two are so thoroughly enmeshed that you couldn't remove one from the other without rocks falling and everyone dying.

But I tend to work from characters first, plot/circumstances second, environment third. Which is kind of a pain when it comes time to really ground the audience in the environment.

Continued…

Posted in Monday post.

Tagged with , .


Under Contract is now in the Nook store!

And you can find it here!

As with the Kindle version, it's $2.99 and is as DRM-free as I can make it on the Nook market — you can download it to any device (and as many devices as) B&N will let you download it to, you can lend it, you can browse it free in stores.

I feel like I am losing DRM-free, Creative Commons cred by the minute, so rest assured, once I kick this cold to the curb, I will be working my butt off getting the helensaito.com shop working!

Posted in Books.

Tagged with , .


One step from the Nook!

In the last couple of weeks since I started this project, Barnes and Noble opened their Nook Market (PubIt!). It's very similar to the Amazon Kindle Marketplace — when you publish a book with them, you grant them a nonexclusive right to distribute your book with them. Your book can't be priced lower anywhere else (just as it can't be priced lower anywhere else when it's listed with Kindle Marketplace).

The royalties are slightly different from Kindle Marketplace. There are, once again, two tiers — a lower tier for books you want to price below $2.99 or above $9.99, and a higher tier for books you're willing to price between $2.99 and $9.99. For Kindle, the lower tier is 35%; for PubIt, it's 40%. For Kindle, the higher tier is 70%; for PubIt, it's 65%. (Additionally, Kindle demands that any book in the higher tier be priced at least 20% below list price for the physical book. PubIt merely asks that it not be higher than list price for the physical book. Obviously, if you have no physical book, this isn't difficult…)

Of course, if you're selling on Nook, you also need to be aware that people can "lend" titles to each other for 14 days (one time only, and when a title is loaned out, the original owner can't access it), and people in a B&N storefront can browse the full text of a book for up to an hour per day. For someone like me, who says things like "No DRM, ever!" and "Creative Commons BY-NC-SA FTW!", this is not a big deal. If you're a little more protective of your work, you might not like these terms as much, particularly with a 5% reduction in royalties.

Still, Amazon seems to be pursuing the lending feature itself, so that's not really something you can avoid. I personally think it's great, and I wish lending were easier rather than harder, but then I am also happy to check the "NO!" button on Kindle and PubIt, when I'm asked "Do you want DRM applied to your book?" Indeed, if there were a "HELL NO, NOT EVER!" button, I would click that one instead. ;)

At any rate, I did successfully conquer ePub, and I'm all set to publish to Nook — as soon as these technical problems (on their end, according to their error message) stop me from uploading the file. (DRM-free, not-tied-to-a-distributor files are still on their way! End of November, I hope.)

As for what else I've been up to this week, I'm afraid the answer to that is "being sick" and "moaning a lot". I'm hoping this won't nuke my goal to write 50,000 words worth of sequel to Under Contract, but wow, I have not been able to concentrate for the life of me this week. (I'm also really unconvinced that 50,000 words will be enough to cover the sequel — and I hope it's not, because Under Contract was about 100,000, and I'd like to aim for that wordcount for its sequels — but we'll see what happens.)

Posted in Monday post.

Tagged with , .