Head's Up: BE MINE is NOT a New Crusie Novel

Harlequin is publishing an anthology with a very old (1993) novella of mine under the title of Be Mine. I’m sure the other two people in the anthology have terrific stories, but mine stinks on ice. Since HQ owns that novella outright, there is nothing I can do to stop it. Do not buy that book thinking it’s a new novel.

Why, yes, I am annoyed.

73 thoughts on “Head's Up: BE MINE is NOT a New Crusie Novel

    1. No. Because I was a brand new author and hadn’t joined RWA yet, I signed a contract giving them the copyright without royalties forever for $1500. One of the many reasons I hate Harlequin. My editors were all but one terrific, loved them, but the contracts department is run by Satan. I may have mentioned the moral rights clause.

      1. No offense, but they gave you $1,500 in 1993 dollars for a book which by your own admission is awful. I can see where you’d be embarrassed at the resurrection now that you write presumably non-awful books, but it seems like they’re just trying to get their money’s worth. πŸ™‚

        1. $1500? They made that back in the first printing. They’re reprinted it three times since then. They gave it away free once. Trust me, they’re doing fine.

          1. First, don’t make 1993 sound like it was eons ago. I graduated from high school in 1993, and am still quite young and fresh thank you very much! πŸ˜‰

            Second, had to blow the dust off of my trust inflation calculator for this one! According to inflation 1993’s $1500 is $2,383.33 in today’s market. Not a lot of money then, and not a lot of money now. I know writers who make more for magazine work, and they get to keep their souls when all is said and done!

            Finally, how terrible of Harlequin. I’m glad someone wrote about this in the reviews and gave me a heads up. I won’t be purchasing this book because that’s just so wrong.

  1. In looked it up – it’s Sizzle. Which didn’t surprise me. What surprised me, however, was the possibility to pre-order the audiobook of ‘Lavender’s Dead’.

    1. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I went onto Amazon and put in a review entitled “Not a new story by Jennifer Crusie”. Don’t know if Amazon will accept my review yet, they may bounce it back, but it was worth a try. I gave it 3 stars because I didn’t want to hurt the other authors and stated in my review that I knew nothing about their stories.

      Oh, and the audiobook for “Lavender’s Dead” has been on Amazon for about 6 months, not sure why. Especially since they got the name wrong.

      1. Corin – It stopped me from buying. I knew that Sizzle wasn’t a new story, but was tempted to buy anyway. When I came here and read the real story I decided not to make the purchase. Authors deserve to make royalties from their work. I won’t support any company gypping an artist. Thanks for the review!!

  2. How nice that they are taking the time to screw you over AND take advantage of your name brand! Golly, they certainly put a lot of effort into showing people how much they really care!

    1. When you are famous and fabulous, you get extra-special screwing. Too bad it’s not in the good way. Or even in the battery-operated, self-controlled way. (I guess that’s one of the worst things about it . . . complete lack of control.) My sympathies go to Jenny . . . but I’m seriously thinking about getting it because I’m a completist.

      I don’t suppose Jenny could change a few words and self-publish it? Could they sue her for plagiarizing herself? I know she doesn’t want it out there, but . . . it’s out there. What’s next?

  3. Also today, both my credit cards have been hijacked and the back fell off of my car.
    Chase is reissuing new cards and taking care of the charges–you out there in Utah buying electronics on my card: burn in hell–and duct tape is holding my car together until Toyota can get the part, but really . . . WTF?

    1. Wow–I think that even beats my “Washer died right after Christmas, dryer died the next day, dishwasher died the week after” story. But it’s damned close.

    2. That happened to my mother a few days ago – the credit card highjacking, not the car problem. The funniest charge to me was pizza – not going to be too hard to track down who stole the numbers. Good luck!!! And, you are so artsy – use pretty duct tape or make the duct tape you are using pretty. I know Lani has made stuff with duct tape before, so she could give you some ideas πŸ™‚

    3. Oh, the credit card hijackers make me crazy. One year, someone claiming to be my sister (I don’t have a sister) ordered a big honking computer with all the works and had it sent UPS to a hotel in Florida. The fact that she didn’t get the zip code right the first time and had to call back should have been a flag. (It was done over the phone, not online, which, to me, made it worse, because those idiots actually helped her. And told her to call me to get the correct zip code and call back. Which just let her know she needed to look us up again, and voila, she had what she needed.) The fact that she was sending it to a hotel in Florida didn’t send up a single alarm. Luckily, I saw the damned thing online before she received the shipment, so they were able to stop it. And yes, they would have had to reimburse me, but meanwhile, my Fake Sister would have still had the computer. At least she was out that piece of fun. I am not even apologetic for wishing hives on her nether regions for life.

      Condolences on the cards and the car. May these be the very last of your troubles for this new year.

    4. You win!!!
      I was down her in Sth Cal kicking walls and spitting chips half an hour ago, but my problem is miniscule by comparison.
      Hope everything gets sorted out and the car gets fixed quickly. Big hugs.

    5. Interestingly enough my Chase card was used fraudulently on the 18th at Walmart.com in Arizona…. (I’m in DE and I have my card…)

    6. That is just rotten. My credit card company has messed me up a couple of times by being super-vigilant (my credit stopped with one night left in the States, and the pizza company tells me the good news . . . fortunately they also had a Sunday hotline). These thieves don’t just make things bad for their victims and the companies, they make it bad for everyone.

      I hope both the credit card and the car companies take care of you. Fast.

    7. Damn…. Who did you piss off?! πŸ™‚ And Sizzle–seriously?! I purchased that many moons ago so I could be sure I have all of your books, but they are re-printing it?! I’m so sorry… It isn’t a bad book–I have read much worse, really–but I can see how you would be embarrassed to have that flaunted about after all these years…

  4. That book turned up on my “recommendations” page from Amazon the other day, and I remembered how much you disliked it. And, there, there. What a sucky day.

  5. I saw this and knew it was Sizzle (which I own, keep it in a baggie, btw) because I am a special kind of fan… Anyway, sorry about the other crap in your life.
    I did not know that about Harlequin. I’m glad you said it (probably said it before, I don’t always pay attention… SQUIRREL!) because I aspired to sign with them at one point in my life.

  6. Well, that explains it. I saw that anthology on a bookstore web site the other day and wondered what possessed you to rerelease Sizzle. Now I know that you haven’t gone off the deep end and had nothing to do with it, I am reassured that I remembered you correctly.

    Stinks that they have full rights, stinks that they are doing that. And double, no triple stinks on the other ways the universe is after you today. But, hey, that makes three things, so maybe you are done for a while.

    ~Cherry Bear

  7. You know, I loved the epilogue that you wrote for Sizzle years ago. It was what happened to the characters later — full of snark. You posted it to the original yahoo group. I think you should put it in the reviews on all the bookseller websites.

    1. I wrote something about Sizzle? Are you sure it was me?
      I forget a lot, but you’d think I’d remember that. No recollection of it whatsoever. But then it’s been twenty years since the original came out . . .

  8. I’ve heard bad, bad things about their contracts. Sorry you got burned and badly too. On the other hand, it was the first and the beginning of really wonderful stories, many of which I have re-read many, many times. I may just crack open Faking It again.

  9. Thanks for the warning–I got a rush when I read about the possibility of a Crusie, but I will just keep on truckin’. Nothing but good times ahead, right?

  10. They’ve been doing that to Nora Roberts for since the mid/late 90s or thereabouts. I can still remember my fury when I paid current Nora Robert prices (and you don’t want to know know what that means in Australia!) for three 80s trainer wheels novellas. I was incensed enough to go to her website and take a bite out of her, only to find her in much the same state as you are now. Spitting chips and trying to sue.She didn’t win either. When I calmed down enough to really look at them it was actually interesting to see the steady improvement in her books. And very encouraging to know that even The Roberts had written some stinkers in the beginning.

    1. You have to be careful these days. I bought a couple of books recently and after I got them home realized they were old books I’d read and they were reissued. Have to look at those dates in the front. Stopped reading Roberts when she killed off a dog or cat in a horrific way. Hurt an animal, I stop reading…expect for Crazy For You…he got his in the end.

      1. I have noticed that Nora’s books now come with a disclaimer–there is a seal on the front of the book if it is a new book, no seal if it is a reprint with a new cover/name…

  11. Asshole people hijacking credit cards – wouldn’t it be easier to just get a job? Sorry about your car. And something being published against your wishes. If it’s Sizzle though I already read it. I don’t remember thinking it wasn’t good. Not your best but not bad. You on a bad day is better than a lot of people on their best day. IMHO anyway.

    1. I totally agree, I would read any story of yours even if you wrote it in third grade in crayon πŸ™‚ I won’t buy sizzle, but only because you asked me not too.

      1. Oh, you can buy the book; the other authors are probably great. Just don’t think it’s a new one by me, and know that mine is bad.
        Free will and all that (g).

  12. During the recent Season – of which I had little to none, being involved in other-oriented rush-rush-rush – I read for the first time “Hot Toy,” a novelette which did the trick. Two believeable protags, snazzy dialog, snarky attitude and wiseass action. Christmas enough for me, thank you. And I do.

    1. Oh, thank you. That novella I like, although you can see Bob’s influence (“Bob, I need a Christmas plot about toys,” “Toys? They make toys in China. Chinese spies!”).

  13. I’ve read Sizzle and it just wasn’t that bad, so cut yourself some slack. Your compelling voice and storytelling magic were already there. And, as I once told you, it was encouraging to me as a new writer to read that story and see where you started, and to realize how hard work and practice could result in significant improvement. It’s also why I will never say anything negative about a writer just starting out (unless they ask for a critique, but that’s different). You never know what might cause someone to give up and stop writing before they’ve had enough time to grow a thick skin and to really hit their stride and be fabulous. I will always love that book for the lessons learned.

    But I’m also pissed at HQ for doing that. Bastards. I’d hoped you had been given a chance to revise it, since you once talked about doing that. That’s dirty pool, rights or not.

    Sorry about the car and the credit cards. Perhaps bumper reattachment is yet another creative use for all those binder clips?

  14. For your sake, I hope the book tanks but I also correspond occasionally via twitter with Victoria Dahl, one of the other authors in the book, and she could use the sales. So, mostly a curse on the HQ devils who took your rights and royalties.

    Then to top off the insult with the injuries of the credit card highjacking and car problems, argh, grr.

    Lots of hugs and Poor Baby’s heading your way.

  15. Oh, and about the book, I love that you wrote this post. You’ve always been great to your readers and this is just another example. Setting the record straight is all you can do, so forget about it and let it be what it will.

  16. Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.

    On the one hand, I would like to own All Things Crusie. On the other hand, you’ve always maintained that Sizzle sucks (I may be paraphrasing). So I will totally trust you on that.

    Shall we all go and make appropriate comments in the reviews? Oh wait, no, that’s not fair to the other two writers. I wonder if they’re out of the royalty pot too.

  17. That’s so unethical.

    I mean people steal your credit cards, they’re thieves, you don’t expect ethical behaviour, they’re out and out villains. Publishers though… one has higher expectations.

    You can “un-claim” it on Amazon — say “this book’s not mine” on Author Central and not have it come up on your author page and come up lower on searches. I had to do this with a book somebody else self-published with my name and a middle initial, and it worked. I think even though you wrote “Sizzle” you can at this point claim “Be Mine” is Not Your Book.

    1. The de-authoring would be helpful. I basically have an auto-buy on Amazon for anything Crusie, so I’d preordered the ebook of this and it delivered to my device a couple days ago. Somehow I missed that it was a repub of “Sizzle,” which I bought used and read 15 (!) years ago when I first became a fan. If anyone wants to read it and has a device with Kindle, let me know and I’ll see if I can lend it to you electronically.

  18. Incidentally, why do they have “Welcome to Temptation” and “Bet Me” as a double, when it clearly ought to be “Welcome to Temptation” and “Faking It”?

    1. You expect me to explain publishing decisions?
      No idea why they did that. I think the people who package don’t actually read the books.

  19. Okay, that just sucks. {{{HUGS}}} for your rotten week. Do you/they know how your numbers got accessed? I sincerely hope this is it for you for a significant chunk of time. Enough already.

    1. I hadn’t used one of the cards since Dec. so that might give them a clue.
      First time I’ve felt warmly about Chase as an institution for awhile, though. The people who work at my local branch are terrific, love them, but dealing with the Chase bureaucracy is not fun. Their credit card fraud division, however, is fabulous.

      1. Agreed about Chase. Last summer someone used a re-magnetized card with my CC # in Toronto and Russia — within an hour of each other (apparently someone has discovered how to travel at the speed of light). Both were physical swipes through card readers. So glad I had my text alerts set up. Got notified right away and their fraud dept took care of it immediately.

      2. I’ve had good experiences with their fraud division too. I can distinctly recall the woman who answered my call laughing on the end of the line after I had occasion to say “Well, I certainly didn’t go out and buy $200 worth of porn and fried chicken.”

      3. Unless your college roommate steals your card, uses your PIN number, and manages to siphon off $3000 out of your savings account before you catch on to it. When she is caught red-handed on the ATM’s video camera, the bank’s reply is “well, you have to prove she took it without your permission–after all, she used your PIN”…. Prosecuted her to no avail… Yeah, Chase sucks rocks as far as I am concerned. My daughter now has no money for school.

  20. Maybe you need a trademark, like La Nora, to let people know that a book is new, not a reprint.

    So sorry to hear about your credit card and car troubles. Having experienced both problems over the years, I feel your pain.

    This past year, someone used my card to charge a one way ticket to the Dominican Republic on my Visa. Luckily, the security department at American Airlines had some suspicions about the charge and called me to verify that the charge was okay. When I told them no, the charge was not put through. And Bank of America immediately cancelled my old number and reissued my card. The really funny thing was that I had just checked my account on line the day before this happened. The people using my number also had my address and phone number, but reversed the last digits so that the airline wouldn’t be able to reach me. Luckily Crystal at American used a reverse directory to get the correct number and the rest just followed.
    I’m a lot more wary of where and how I use my credit card.

  21. I remember reading on your website, years ago, that “Sizzle” was terrible, and it would be doing you a favour to not read it. I, of course, immediately started searching for it and eventually managed to buy it used at an exorbitant price. I’m encouraged to see that I’m not the only one. Really, it’s not as bad as you think. It’s fascinating to see authors’ early works. Gives you more appreciation for the blood, sweat, and tears that went into their maturing.

    1. I also was trying to find Sizzle but drew the line at paying $40+ for a book. I’ve not read Sizzle yet because of that.

    1. I can’t post the link to the epilog, but it was message #5797, subject “Good Old Boys, Part 2, and HEAs”, posted by Jenny on Wed May 15, 2002. I love a good archive πŸ˜‰

      Emily and Richard, of course, broke up about a month after Sizzle ended, and
      he had her fired. She filed suit and won, and took Jane and started her own
      company, and is now making millions. She is still single. Richard’s last
      job was CFO of Enron. I hope he likes prison, the dumbass.

      1. How do you get into the archive that far back? The archives drop-down “entry by date” only goes back as far as July 2005, which was, I gather, when the new version of the website was started.

        1. That’s when the blog started. Eight years of inanity and still you guys come back to read. I’m touched, I really am.

          Must have been a different year.

        2. It’s on the Yahoo! Groups JenniferCrusieFans
          Then you put the # in the search box. I got it and then had to go back and find the original and I did not write down the number. Some of the posts are really good.

  22. I found a copy of Sizzle a while back and had to read it, I’m afraid. And I also think you’re being to hard on it. I think it’s more like that first pancake you make, not as pretty as the following ones, but still delicious. Unless that’s only something that happens to my pancakes. That being said, Harlequin are clearly weasels and should be hanging their little furry heads in shame.

  23. I bought the book. It sucks you don’t get credit but I still joyed the book. You are truly my favorite author, now I have every book you wrote. You brighten my day with your books. I read them over and over……
    Than you…..

  24. Sorry this happened to you, Jenny! Like you, I loved my HQ editors (especially Birgit, Malle, and Valerie), but every time I’ve tried to get rights back over the years, they put the book out in Bulgaria or Romania, or some such place, and the seven years ownership kicks back in. You know when they’re willing to let Nora leave rather than negotiate a way to play nice, no one else is going to stand a chance. (Who knew about backlist in the 80s?) It reminds me of S&S letting Dan Brown go because they knew they could make more money with backlist if he wrote a book that took off. As The Da Vinci Code, for some reason I’ll never figure out, did. And I suspect your novella’s not nearly as bad as you think. Also, it’s been my experience that many readers actually enjoy seeing early works. Sorry also about the cc (I had my Amex # stolen last week for two pairs of very expensive tennis shoes) and your car.

  25. Was there a novella in the works after Hot Toy? I seem to remember discussion about it, but I lost track.

  26. Some time ago I bought a Mills and Boon anthology that had

    Sizzle in it along with three other writers.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Sizzle.

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