Friday, October 8, 2021

Guest Post with E.M. Storm-Smith ~ Stolen Book ~ Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose

Hello, my friends! E.M. Storm-Smith is visiting with us today. I hope you enjoy her post!




First, let me say how excited I am to be standing in for Candy on the So Little Time Blog! Thanks so much for having me. As an introduction, please let me tell you something about myself. My name is E.M. Storm-Smith. I’m a non-profit corporate attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; mother to a wonderful little guy; wife to the best friend I’ve ever known; and completely new to the world of writing and publishing books! I grew up in a small town in central Indiana, and while I’ve moved around a lot since graduating high school, my family has now settled in the same county of my youth.  Before I became an attorney, I was a Nuclear Engineer civilian consultant for the US Navy. I got to work on nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers; designing and running tests of equipment alongside our impressive enlisted and commissioned sailors. Today, I work with nonprofit organizations to help them meet their impact goals and sustainably grow financial assets to ensure longevity. 

This winter I’ll be publishing my very first full-length novel, Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose, a Pride and Prejudice Variation novel.

The biggest question now is how in the world did I come to write Austenesque novels? 

It all began with a stolen book.

Specifically, someone tried to steal one of my books off of an author website where I had been posting stories for like minded Jane Austen fans. But that’s not really where my writing journey started.

I started writing stories and fan fiction as an outlet after finishing law school. I had been in graduate school for four years, earning a masters degree and a JD, and had been required to read more than 100 pages then write case briefs & memos of upwards of 2,000 words per day. 

Every day. 

For Four Years. 

Then I took the bar exam and it all stopped. The bar exam is in July, my job didn’t start until after Labor Day, and I found myself at home with an 18-month-old baby and NOTHING. TO. DO. 

Fan fiction had been the thing I read for myself in between law treatises and SCOTUS cases. Most of the stories I followed (and still follow) were short stories, but a few of the authors on my favorite website would get into 50k+ word novels. Often, they would post a chapter or two per week. Just enough to feed my habit but not too much to keep me from sleeping all night. It was a wonderful escape. 

So, when I was bored and anxious about whether or not I passed the bar exam, if my baby was healthy, how to lose the baby weight that was still stubbornly stuck to my midsection, and all the other destructive thoughts floating around my brain, I decided to start my own story. The first one was just a whim, but it filled the nap time hours with something stimulating and new. 

I was terrible at first. 

My engineering degree and law school training were not at all helpful for writing fiction prose. My tenses were all over the place. I had a serious telling v. showing problem. Typos, sentence fragments, run-ons, misused phrases and words, overly dramatic character reactions, clich├ęs - you name the writing sin and I committed it.

But I was already hooked. My story was getting good reviews for its concept and gentle nudges regarding the technical writing problems. Each chapter I wrote and posted got better. Eventually, I had over 1,000 likes on my silly little story. The positive feedback was addictive. So, I kept writing the kinds of stories I liked to read and kept posting them for friends and family to find online. This went on for about six years.

Fast forward to March 2021. I sat down for the first time in probably six weeks (I’m not the best or most consistent social media user) and logged onto my author account to check comments and new followers to my stories. What was waiting for me was a torrent of messages from my readers telling me that one of my books had been stolen whole-hog and uploaded to Kindle Unlimited. 

Some unknown person just downloaded an EPUB version of my whole work, changed the title, gave it a terrible cover and tried to sell my book. I didn’t even know this had happened until about a month after it first went on sale. Thankfully my readers and online friends were quicker than I was. The bootlegged book was taken down from Kindle within a couple of days based on the nearly 100 comments between Amazon and Goodreads tagging it as a copyright infringement. 

I probably should have been mad. Maybe one day I will be mad, but what I really felt was flattered.

Someone thought my story was good enough to try and make money off of it. Maybe I could do the same. Maybe I have what it takes to actually do this thing for real. Funny enough, what I was most mad about what the zero effort put into the bootlegged book. They just changed the title to something trite and used an ugly photo for the cover that had nothing to do with the story at all. I felt like my baby, which had taken the better part of two years to write, deserved better!

So, I decided to take the plunge and publish myself.

In my day job as a corporate attorney, I had actually once helped a client and good friend set up her own publishing company to self-publish her books. I was already familiar with the contracts for most of the major online book retailers and ebook distributors. Plus, I have the background in intellectual property and copyright law needed to file for my own IP protection. I am tenacious (stubborn), detail orientated (perfectionist), hard working (obsessed), and like a new challenge (has a hard time doing the same task twice). 

I could do this!!

Spoiler alert - it was so much harder than I expected, but still really worth it.

I’d love to connect with you! Come find me in all the usual places:

Storm Haus Newsletter 

Facebook   

Instagram  

Website   

Goodreads     

Twitter    

Austen Authors Group 






Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose 
A Pride and Prejudice Variation Novel
By: E.M. Storm-Smith 

What if Mr. Bennet died in a duel with Wickham after Lydia eloped, just as Mrs. Bennet feared? Will Elizabeth and Darcy still find their happily-ever-after when the Bennet women lose their reputation and their home? If you like reading Austenesque retellings like Death Comes to Pemberley and Unleashing Mr. Darcy, then Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose will be your cup of tea. 

Elizabeth Bennet hotly rejected Fitzwilliam Darcy’s marriage proposal nearly four months ago, but now she wonders if that was the biggest mistake of her life. Orphaned and living with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner in London, Elizabeth is determined to take a position as a governess or companion. There is no need to wait, she believes Darcy could not renew his attentions to her after her family’s disgrace. Which is a shame because she now knows that she might just love him. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy would do anything for Elizabeth. He rushed to London as soon as hearing about Lydia Bennet’s elopement to try to find Wickham and put everything to rights. But his journey was fruitless. Then all Darcy’s effort was wasted when Mr. Bennet died of his wounds before Darcy could bring a doctor to tend to him. Now, he must convince Elizabeth to forgive and marry him before all hope is lost. 

Elizabeth and Darcy are left to try to salvage what is left of their reputations after Mr. Bennet dies and Lydia’s shame becomes complete. Follow our favourite Austen lovers through sacrifice, frustration, a secret marriage, and a whole lot of shenanigans from the marriage minded ladies of London.
 
Add to Goodreads.



E.M Storm-Smith, thank you so much for stopping by today! I found your journey into writing fascinating! It was great getting to know you, and I look forward to reading Reputation, An Easy Thing to Lose!

Friends, what did you think? I hope you enjoy getting to know E.M. Storm-Smith as much as I did! Let us know by leaving a comment! Thanks!

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your first published work. I am glad you were able to get your work back. I look forward to reading this variation.

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  2. What an exciting journey you have had. Congratulations and best wishes.

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  3. Congratulations and Looking forward to this book!!!

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  4. I enjoyed getting to know a new to me author and her road to publishing. I remember when the members of my GoodReads group were up in arms about the pirating. Glad to see the book get a chance to be edited and published so it will shine. It sounds great.

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