Friday, March 29, 2013

Young Adult: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Griffin) is so much better than it needs to be, it takes one by surprise. Though the book is aimed at young adult readers, this is the sort of ageless story that needs no limits. Readers of all ages who enjoy having their hearts touched will like this one.

The pair in the title are a brace of 16-year-olds who are deeply in love. They are intelligent teens and understand that, for so many reasons, the deep attachment they feel can not last. Even so, they give into the things that call them and have a go.

The misfit mid-1980s Omaha teens are an ill-made match that has their friends and families shaking their heads. Park is biracial: the “weird Asian kid” is how Eleanor first sees him, with skin “the color of sunshine through honey.” Eleanor is a loud and large, a big-boned redhead who sees herself as fat. They spin their love against a backdrop of punk rock mixtapes and it’s impossible not to root for them, even while you suspect that this story of first love will not have an a-typical ending.

Eleanor & Park follows up Rowell’s debut: 2011’s smart and wonderful Attachments. No sophomore slump here. Eleanor & Park is a biography of a first love: poignant, heartfelt, ultimately doomed, but absolutely unforgettable. ◊

Sienna Powers is a contributing editor to January Magazine.

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This Just In… Retribution by K.T. Archer

Lizzy Wallace Boudreaux cherishes her friendship with Kay, not just because she is a terrific gal, but also because she helped orchestrate the first meeting four years ago between Lizzy and the love of her life. But as much as Lizzy likes how good Kay’s husband, Marcus, is with her, she still cannot ignore the nagging feeling in the back of her mind that Marcus has a dark side. Lizzy has no idea she is about to discover her intuition is spot-on.

While running errands, Lizzy walks in the wrong place at the right time and secretly witnesses Marcus is the midst of a romantic rendezvous with another woman. Now, she is left with the agonizing decision about whether to tell Kay, who has just confessed she and Marcus are having money troubles, or keep the discovery to herself. But as soon as Lizzy chooses to tell Kay everything she knows, the two women begin to unravel Marcus’ deception, unwittingly unleashing a psychopath from his silent prison.

In this chilling romantic thriller, the truth leaves two women fighting for their lives as a predator driven by his evil nature embarks on a deadly quest for revenge.    

You can learn more about Retribution here. Order the book here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Amazon Acquires Goodreads

Seattle-based bookseller has acquired Goodreads, a popular Web site featuring user-generated content of books. Though Amazon acquired a similar site, Shelfari, back in 2008, there seem to be no plans to combine the two. From Publishers Weekly:
Goodreads, which is one of the most popular among a raft of sites created as a book recommendation engine--members are directed to titles by seeing what their friends are reading, or have recommended--does not currently sell any books, but many in the industry saw it as an ideal sales outlet.
The details of the purchase, which is set to close in the second quarter of 2013, were not disclosed by Amazon, but the retail giant confirmed that Goodreads will remain headquartered in San Francisco. The site currently has over 16 million members, averages 37 million unique visitors a month, and has over 30,000 book clubs.
When pressed about whether Goodreads would begin to carry buy links to Amazon products, PW says Amazon representatives responded that that “don’t have any plans to change anything about the buy links in the short term, but in the long term we’re going to do what’s best for our users.”


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jane Goodall Book Postponed

Seemingly beloved by humans and primates everywhere, British primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist, Jane Goodall, has announced that the publication of her new book, Seeds of Hope, will be postponed while Goodall and her publisher investigate allegations of plagiarism.

On March 19, the Washington Post’s Steven Levingston compared passages from Goodall’s new book with words on the topic from previously published books and web sites.
In Seeds of Hope, Goodall has crafted a passionate narrative about plants, their effect on our lives and her desire to preserve the natural environment. Her first-person reflections are full of her well-known charm and humanitarianism. It is when the book moves away from Goodall’s own stories to deliver background information on plants and their history that the instances of borrowing creep in. 
Levingston points out that Goodall isn’t alone in allegedly cribbing material from unattributed sources:
High-profile cases of literary borrowing are leaping to view with increasing frequency. Jonah Lehrer not only reused his own material but also made up quotes, resulting in his departure from his job as a New Yorker staff writer and the pulping of two of his books. Time columnist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria was briefly suspended for using passages from another writer’s work in one of his columns. Questions of borrowing have touched historians Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin and novelist Ian McEwan. Publishers have taken the heat in some cases for their less-than-rigorous fact-checking of manuscripts.
Though Levingston was gentle with Goodall under the circumstances, he made it clear that -- whatever had happened with regard to Seeds of Hope, it wasn’t acceptable:
Appropriating another author’s ideas as one’s own and inventing material and presenting it as fact are among the gravest literary lapses. Neither appears to have occurred in “Seeds of Hope.”
Goodall and her publisher have taken a step back, announcing that the book that had initially been scheduled for an April debut be postponed indefinitely. From the Los Angeles Times:

“Together with my publisher, I have decided to postpone the release of my new book, SEEDS OF HOPE, so that we may have the necessary time to correct any unintentional errors,” Goodall said in a statement released Friday. “It is important to me that the proper sources are credited, and I will be working diligently with my team to address all areas of concern.”

This Just In… The Purple Heart by Christie A. C. Gucker

When does hiding the truth become an outright lie? As an Army psychologist, Sydney Porter has heard her share of horror stories. The battle-scarred, down-trodden, and guilt-ridden have come to her office, seeking her help.

When a highly decorated soldier is referred to her, she feels confident she can help heal his wounds. The chemistry between herself and Sergeant Aiden Thane is instantaneous. Sparks ignite and against her friend’s advice, she opens both her home and her heart.

Torn between the voice of reason and her undeniable feelings, Sydney begins to question just what is hiding behind her lover’s decorated uniform. What secrets are hidden behind his Purple Heart? And does she really want to know?

You can order The Purple Heart here. Visit author Christie A. C. Gucker on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Doing What to the Chicken Coop?

There’s just not a lot we want to add to this piece that comes to us from the Huffington Post via AP. So here’s a snippet, with the appropriate link at the end. If this tickles you, too, you’ll want to follow and read more. Ready?
A supernaturally tinged barnyard manual has won Britain’s quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year’s oddest book title. 
“Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop” by Reginald Bakeley was awarded the prize Friday by trade magazine The Bookseller. 
The book took 38 percent of the votes in a public ballot, beating finalists including “How Tea Cosies Changed the World,” “Was Hitler Ill?” and “God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis.”
There’s more at HuffPost here.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Just In… Conquering Babel by Claire Handscombe

So, this time you’re really going to do it. You’re really going to learn a language.

But where do you even start?

Conquering Babel by Claire Handscombe offers hints, tips and recommendations from an experienced language tutor and answers questions such as:
• how do I stay motivated?
• do I really need to learn grammar?
• how do I get the locals to speak to me in their language?
• why bother learning anyway when they all speak English?- what are the best resources available for self-study?
• how can I find a good language tutor?
You can order Conquering Babel here.◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Jack Kerouac: Cover Designer

When his first novel, The Town and the City, was published, Jack Kerouac was unhappy with the cover his publisher had graced it with. He was unhappy enough, in fact, that he put pencil to paper and sketched out his ideal design.

Kerouac’s design was rough, but deeply detailed and included not only his own image, but his last name repeated several times on the pavement of the road included in the drawing.

The author liked his sketch so much that when he sent the manuscript to to be considered by A.A. Wyn in 1950, he included his sketch along with the following note:
Dear Mr. Wyn:
I submit this as my idea of an appealing commercial cover expressive of the book. The cover for “The Town and the City” was as dull as the title and the photo backflap. Wilbur Pippin’s photo of me is the perfect On the Road one … it will look like the face of the figure below.
Apparently, Wyn wasn’t impressed enough with either the illustration or the work to take it on because the book wasn’t published until five years later when it was published by Viking who really should have take Kerouac’s advice. The cover they stuck on the book must have made Kerouac despair. Even so, if you want one of those ugly first editions, plan on spending around $7000. Double that -- or more -- for a signed copy.

Just can’t get enough of On the Road? The film was adapted for the screen in 2012 and directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries, Dark Water). The movie version was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and stars Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

JK Rowling Doll is Not New News

It’s possible I’m the only person who didn’t know about this, in which case you’ll forgive this quick look back. But new news or old news, Mattel crafting a doll in the likeness of Harry Potter author JK Rowling seems like a big deal to me.

It’s possible I would have heard about it in a more timely fashion had the Rowling model ever gone into production. Alas, the pretty-in-pink(-and-black) doll was never intended for the masses, created instead only for the delight of attendees of a toy fair in Nuremberg back in 2010. The Frisky had the whole story at the time:
At last, a Barbie who can realistically afford all those clothes, the pink Corvette, and mortgage payments for the Barbie Dream House! The J.K. Rowling Barbie made her debut alongside a tennis-playing Kim Clijsters Barbie and Swedish Crown Princess Victoria Barbie, all of whom a Mattel spokeswoman heralded as “true role models” for girls. Unfortunately, none of the three Barbies will be for sale for the general public. Sorry, Muggles! Instead, the new Barbies will chill at a toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany, with other one-of-a-kind Barbies, like Oprah and German Chancellor Andrea Merkel. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall at that doll-y tea party?
It really is a shame. If, as the Mattel spokesperson said, the Rowling doll was meant to be a true role model, one wonders why she never got out of the gate.

This Just In… War and Chance by Kerin Freeman

Conscripted into the army in 1940, 18-year-old Thomas Collins is sent to France where he witnesses and takes part in horrors far beyond his imagination.

Shell shocked and wounded, he leaves Dunkirk on the destroyer Havant. Thomas’ recovery in Netley Hospital is slow and images of a brutal war refuse to leave his fragile state of mind, especially his bloody slaying of a German soldier. Wounded and shell-shocked, Thomas is taken off the beach at Dunkirk and sent back to England to recuperate.

The boy who left England to fight in France has disappeared and in his place is the husk of a man who wears a mask in the company of the people who care for him. Not long after bombs begin to fall on Southampton, tragedy strikes. Heartbroken and bent on revenge, Thomas enlists the aid of his army mates and goes looking for trouble.

Visit Kerin Freeman on the web. Order War and Chance here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Children's Books: Big Nate Flips Out by Lincoln Peirce

Lincoln Peirce is back with the fifth installment in the Big Nate series. This time around, Nate is signing on as a candid photographer for his school yearbook. The one problem: the only way he can get a camera is by having his friend get it. So, if he loses it, his friend gets the blame. When Nate loses the camera because of his messiness, he and his friend split. So, he decides to clean up his act -- literally! Nate goes to a hypnotist to make him a neat person. But soon, his blessing turns into a curse. How will he get back his friend, and how will he rid himself of his neatness? Pick up Big Nate Flips Out to find out!

Big Nate Flips Out (HarperCollins) was amazing. An intriguing and quick read, this book will quickly pull you in and hold you there until you finish. Nate’s exaggerated comics are major laughs, and a clever and comical way to explain the situations Nate is facing. The best part of the book are the small details in the pictures. Everything that’s happening in the background gives you laugh, such as a bully bullying someone, or a character off to the side hitting on a girl. The book has a real uniqueness to it, where Nate has a special code which we decode every time he uses it as a note to his friends. Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love this comic-filled graphic novel.

Lincoln Peirce is comic writer and the author of the famous Big Nate comic strip. He has been most recently recognized for his Big Nate novels, which have received lots of attention. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids. ◊

Ian Buchsbaum is a kid who loves to read. In fact, the only thing he loves more than reading is writing. He loves writing about books -- and he’s already writing one of his own.

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This Just In… Who Are You Meant to Be?: A Groundbreaking Step-by-Step Process for Discovering and Fulfilling Your True Potential by Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard

Who Are You Meant to Be? blends new brain science with a century old personality system to show you why most people live in survival using behaviors, thinking patterns and beliefs that keep them there. It introduces the Striving Styles Personality System and shows people how to become who they are meant to be.

The book reveals an entirely new way of understanding human behavior and, most significantly, will help people realize their own potential to live happy and fulfilled lives by breaking free of self-protective behaviors that limited their growth. It provides insight into how they can use the abilities and inclinations they are born with to achieve what they are born for. It allows readers to identify which of the eight Striving Styles is truest to their natural make-up. Once we are aware of our predominant need, we can begin to structure our lives in ways that will ensure this need is met.    

You can learn more about Who Are You Meant to Be? here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis or for a small fee. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Paranormally Excellent

If you’ve been wondering about what might take the high spots on a list of the top paranormal fantasy novels of recent years you may now rest. The wonderful Paul Goat Allen has tackled the topic for the Barnes and Noble blog, laying to rest any need for the loss of sleep you might previously have had while pondering the question.

“We are in the midst of a glorious Golden Age of paranormal fantasy,” writes Allen. “The last ten years, specifically, in genre fiction have been nothing short of landscape-changing.”

And he’s right, of course. Just look at the contenders: Kim Harrison, Kat Richardson, Charlaine Harris, Charlie Huston and Cherie Priest are just a few of the names you figured might show up… and who do.

As Allen says, his list includes books which “are not only extraordinarily good, but have also dramatically influenced -- and continue to influence -- the course of the genre.” That list is here.


This Just In… The Life of Alberto by Alberto E. Baston

The Life of Alberto is a remarkable story of conquering adversity and attaining happiness in life. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy and scoliosis at a very young age, author Alberto E. Baston offers readers an alternative view of life in an utterly simple yet inspiring way.

Growing up with impairments, Baston’s experience is a lot different from anyone else’s. The tough world could be really scary for a frail little boy. His strong will and determination and the love and support from his extended family, however, fueled him to thrive in the great race of life. He encountered a lot of challenges set by the limitations of his disabilities.

In this evocative memoir of overcoming life’s obstacles, Baston recalls the experiences which shaped his life and principles. Baston’s journey explores the acceptance of the limitations and difficulties posed by disabilities. The Life of Alberto is a truthful and powerful autobiography.

You can see more about The Life of Alberto here. Order the book. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Jazz Age Writing Retreat For Sale

Most authors indulge in the idea of a little shack in some out of the way place. Somewhere they can get away from it all to write. Jazz age giant, F. Scott Fitzgerald, was no exception. And if, like Scott and Zelda, you’d like to do your creative running away in big style in the South of France, you can shell out a downpayment for Villa Picolette, currently being offered by Sotheby’s for an unadvertised $35.5 million.

Though the waterfront home has been remodeled (it’s been more than 70 years, after all), the elegance of Villa Picolette seems mainly intact. And it’s a pretty grand place, indeed. The 8000+ square foot shack once entertained Ernest Hemingway. And this is where Fitzgerald is said to have done research for the book that would become Tender is the Night.

The Sotheby’s web site offers more details in florid real estate patois:
In the heart of the most sought after Cap d'Antibes peninsula with direct access to the beach and to a private jetty. Close to all restaurants and shops and next to the harbor. 
La Croisette and Cannes center: 20 minutesNice International Airport: 30 minutes 
The interiors are full of charm and elegance, with spacious living areas and high ceilings. There is large, fully fitted kitchen, a wine cellar and a bar with discotheque. The sumptuous master bedroom suite includes a dressing room and en-suite bathroom. There are 4 further en-suite bedrooms to be enjoyed by family and friends. There is also separate staff accommodation, a triple garage and numerous outbuildings.
There’s more, along with a video complete with cheesy music, here.

This Just In… Hero to Zero by Zach Fortier

Zach Fortier is back with more true crime accounts from the streets. This time with true stories of cops gone bad. Join Zach as he meets a cop who will be a future member of the FBI’s 10 most wanted, hunted for a brutal quadruple murder and more. Fortier writes about cops making every mistake possible, including theft, murder, fraud and drug abuse. Take a ride on the dark side of law enforcement. The side the cops rarely talk about.

Zach Fortier was a police officer for over 30 years, specializing in K-9, SWAT, gang, domestic violence and sex crimes as an investigator. He has written three books about Police work. Curbchek is a case-by-case account of the streets as he worked them from the start of his career. Streetcreds details time Fortier spent in a gang task force and the cases he dealt with. The third book is by far the most gritty: Curbchek-Reload. In Reload Zach is damaged and dangerously so and suffering from PTSD and the day-to-day violence of working the street.

If you like true crime, take a look at Zach Fortier.

You can order Hero to Zero here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Don’t Read This

In a world where it sometimes seems that everyone is trying to tell you what to read, it’s strikingly refreshing to have someone tell you about books to avoid. That’s just what comedian and late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon has been doing during a periodic segment Fallon calls his “Do Not Read List.”

“Every book I’m about to show you is real,” Fallon said as he started out the March 18th segment. “These are actual books.” And the reassurance is necessary because, at least in some cases, the truth is stranger than a whole lot of fiction.

This time out Fallon’s picks were all non-fiction, ranging from How I Cured Deadly Toe Fungus to an oddly illustrated book called A Day in the Life of Canada, a book didn’t appear to have a lot to do with Canada and a business book called Beat Your Way to the Top: Masturbation as a Technique for Business Success.

The real danger might be that, as many people in the book industry will tell you, any type of significant media attention will sell books. Though it’s possible that a book on success through masturbation might do well on its own.

You can see Fallon go through his picks below. If that taste gets you started, you can see Jimmy Fallon’s previous Do Not Read List segments here.


This Just In… What A Difference Love Makes by J. Earl Leatherwood

J. Earl Leatherwood’s What A Difference Love Makes revolves around the unconventional life of Jerry. He has a loving mother and an alcoholic father. One day, after all the troubles that Jerry has been through with his family, he decides to run away and live his life independently. He finds a job on a ranch. However, fate has other plans for him. Jerry meets with an accident after toiling the day’s work on the ranch. It is an event that changes his life and his outlook on love forever.

“Jerry didn't know what love was-not from family or even from friends. Jana was full of love-from family to even strangers. This is the incredible story of how a near death accident brought about untold blessings. Can you believe what a difference love makes?”

You can order What A Difference Love Makes here. Visit J. Earl Leatherwood on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

North London Litfest Set to Rock

Award-winning authors Michèle Roberts, James Herbert, Lucy Caldwell and Andrew Simms will be included in a cast of high-profile writers, poets and journalists who will be lighting up Hendon at the North London Literary Festival on March 26 and 27th.

To be held at Middlesex University, the two-day festival will feature readings, publishing workshops and writing competitions open to everyone. Embracing new technologies will be a focus for the festival as the publishing industry begins its radical shift towards the online market and away from 400 years of print tradition.

Faber, one of London’s most respected publishing houses, will be chairing a discussion group on where the industry is heading and inviting any questions the public may have for them.

The free two day festival will also include speed pitching, an innovative new idea that is like speed dating. It offers a chance for all attendees to pitch their ideas to a top London agent and to receive feedback on how marketable their work could be in the current publishing environment.

For more information, the North London Lit Fest web site is here.

This Just In… Questing Marilyn: In Search Of My Holy Grail by Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem

In Questing Marilyn: In Search Of My Holy Grail Personal Growth Through Travel, Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem takes her readers along on a very personal quest to sacred and historical sites in England and Ireland. She sheds her responsibilities and confronts how what she was taught to believe influences her life as an adult woman.

Visiting Stonehenge, Avebury, Glastonbury, Bath, Tintagel, Kilkenny, Dublin and other favorites of holiday-goers, Marilyn takes time to look inside herself and objectively at her life. She isn’t always happy with what she finds. Marilyn reveals how she applies the life skills she teaches as a therapist into her own experiences.

Throughout her quest, Marilyn confronts past negative teachings that have kept her from achieving her desires. When she focuses her energy and is true to her Self, she creates a plan that allows her to explore places from a unique perspective and to experience deep joy and personal satisfaction. The changes in her energy bring new experiences into her life that might appear to be coincidences. It is the natural process of creation that allows the results to appear in unexpected, rich, and marvellous ways. You can be right there with her and feel the transformation. Share the surprises.

You can order Questing Marilyn here. Read more about the author’s journey here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Fifty Shades: the Film

Emma Watson (Harry Potter, The Perks of Being A Wallflower) has made it very clear she doesn’t want to play Anastasia Steele in the film version of the runaway bestseller of 2012, the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. “Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.” Watson tweeted to her over five million followers. “Good. Well that's that sorted then.”

The rumor started when internal documents from German studio Constantin Film were stolen and published by an online hacker collective called Anonymous. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Anonymous, together with a hacker team called M3du5a, hacked into Constantin's internal employee server and boasted about the act on Twitter. The group published online what it said were internal documents with information on films in development that Constantin is considering for acquisition. They also published a long list of email addresses of Constantin employees and business partners. 
There was little that was new in the documents Anonymous stole -- one has Emma Watson attached to star in Focus Features' upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation, confirming a widely reported rumor -- while the majority involve projects that have been announced or otherwise reported. 
But the action did illustrate how vulnerable even the biggest media companies can be to activist hackers such as Anonymous. 
Meanwhile, we still don’t know who will take any of the roles when Fifty Shades of Grey comes to the screen, or even when it will. In fact, the IMDB listing for the film is still pretty sketchy. Some attached production companies are named, as are the writers on the project. One of them is E.L. James, the author of the book. The other is Kelly Marcel, who seems perfectly equipped for the job at hand. Marcel’s credits include production on the late and underrated British television series Terra Nova, but more relevant, according to IMDB, Marcel “started her career in musical theater with the UK version of Debbie Does Dallas, the Musical.”


Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to Be A Writer 101: Bum in Chair

And speaking of writing tips, bestselling mystery author and former journalist Betty Webb recently offered some no-nonsense general advice for those who are considering becoming writers. The biggest take away here: writing is hard work and, as I’ve often said before, if it isn’t hard, you’re probably not doing it right.

Here are some of Webb’s thoughts:
If you're meant to be a writer, you are already writing a minimum of 10 hours a week. Note -- that’s MINIMUM! Writing is very hard work -- you must DAILY apply the seat of your pants to the chair, and your fingers to the keyboard. If you “don’t have time” to do that every day, you’re probably not meant to be a writer (otherwise you’d structure your time to make sure those hours are available to you, even if it means getting up at 4 a.m.). 
One more thing -- writers don’t ask for “permission” from another writer to write: writers write. Period. Every day. Regardless of what's going on and how crummy they feel.
Now, clearly, Webb knows what she’s talking about here. Her popular Desert series, featuring Scottsdale-based sleuth Lena Jones, has enjoyed a wide and enthusiastic following. In 2008, Webb added a second series about a California zookeeper who solves mysteries. The most recent of these, The Llama of Death, came out in January of this year.

You can learn more about Betty Webb and her books here.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Five Writing Tips from Blake Bailey

One way or another, Blake Bailey has thought a lot about writing. His biographies of famous writers have thus far gotten him a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, and nominations for the Pulitzer and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Bailey has written about Cheever, Yates and last fall, Philip Roth told the New York Times that Bailey was at work on his biography. Meanwhile, Bailey’s own newest book is Farther & Wilder: The Lost Weekends and LIterary Dreams of Charles Jackson, out next week from Knopf.

With all this writing and thinking about writers and writing, it only makes sense that Bailey might have put together some strong opinions, and he has. Writing for Publishers Weekly, Bailey sends out Five Writing Tips. His reasons are all in-depth and can be seen here. Until you get there, here are the highlights:

1. Write about things that really interest you.
2. Be quiet and listen.
3. Action is character.
4. Be prepared.
5. If possible, be funny.

See the full piece here.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rand Paul’s Hoarse Horse

As regular readers will have noted, January Magazine doesn’t generally chime in on political goings on, even when the temptation is at its greatest. But this week we stumbled onto something so on-target for our readership, we thought we’d take a fast swipe.

Though the occurrence has now been corrected, when Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s history making 13-hour filibuster was first reported, Poltico said:
About 24 hours before Holder’s letter, at 11:47 a.m Wednesday, Paul took the floor and vowed to go until he “could no longer speak.” He didn’t look tired and his voice wasn’t horse but at the top of hour four, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) arrived on the floor to ask a question of Paul, the only way Paul would be able to stop speaking without yielding the floor.
As is their right and mandate, Copyediting was quick to pounce. “The error, of course, is that the authors did not intend to indicate anything equine (horse) about Paul’s voice, but rather meant to say that his voice wasn’t harsh or rough (hoarse).” And because they are a big enough journal in a world filled with goofy mistakes, they even managed to sneak in a joke while turning the other cheek. “As far as errors go,” Dawn McIlvain Stahl reported, “this isn't in the horse race for being one of the worst editors see.”

Karim on Koryta

Born in 1982 and with the first of his eight novels published in 2004, Michael Koryta’s star has been rising so fast, it seems a foregone conclusion we’ll be reading his muscular style of crime fiction for a long time to come.

Over at the Rap Sheet, January Magazine contributing editor Ali Karim interviews Koryta in a conversation that takes them all over the young writer’s career. Asked about how the reading and writing bug came to him, Kortya replies at length:
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always. From the moment I started reading. My parents were readers, and what they taught me that was indispensable was the idea of reading for pleasure. It was not some forced educational merit badge work. Books became a huge part of my life, and of my sister’s, when we were very young. It was a big deal to go to a bookstore or a library--that was setting up your entertainment for a while. But then again, we went outdoors to play, too, so obviously we were raised in a very strange way. An alternative lifestyle. Ha! I would finish a book that I loved and then set out to write my own story that was basically a clone but dropped into a life closer to my own. That was the early writing, just mimicking the voices I liked. I’d written three novels by the time I was 19 and the third one sold, that was Tonight I Said Goodbye, which was the first one published in the U.S.
Fans will be especially happy to note that a new book is heading their way:
I just turned in a draft of a crime novel last week, it should be out early in 2014--a cheerful wilderness thriller, much like Deliverance was. I’m also working on a short story for a horror anthology and shaping the plan for the next book. Whether I start on it before the rewrite depends upon my editor’s speed. I don’t like to take much time off between writing, so there is a good chance I will have [the next book] underway before I finish the rewrite.
The full interview is here.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

National Alfred Hitchcock Day Observed

I have no idea why today is National Alfred Hitchcock Day. The filmmaker was born on August 13th, 1899 and died on April 29th, 1980. It’s possible one of his many films debuted on this date that, but I have a hunch the answer is even more simple: the date was available, so they plunked it in.

Whatever the case, there are worse occasions for celebrating. For instance, does the world really need a National Cupcake Day? And yet there is one. There’s a Panic Day and a Multiple Personalities Day (that’s a confusing one) and tomorrow is Jewel Day, though I’m not clear if it relates to the stone or the 90s folk/pop icon. But you get the point: as far as National Days go, you don’t have to look far to find sillier ones than this.

Alfred Hitchcock was, of course, the master of suspense and the best of his work remain fresh and completely watchable today. These include such masterworks as Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief, Rear Window and the iconic Psycho that, in many ways, altered filmmaking forever.

Stephen Rebello’s book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, was the basis for the 2012 film, Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi and starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. In a video interview (below) Rebello points out that Psycho “was guerilla filmmaking and it was unlike anything he’d done before.”

Meanwhile, Bodega Bay, the coastal California community where Hitchcock shot The Birds in 1963, is getting ready for a half century bash. According to The Sacramento Bee, Hitchcock chose his location perhaps even better than he knew:
Now, 50 years later, as the community makes plans for the golden anniversary of this silver-screen classic, an avian invasion once more has taken hold here. 
It's the annual winter migration of all kinds of birds, attracted in large numbers to Bodega Bay by the irresistible geographic combination of open shoreline and diverse flora. The National Audubon Society has called this area one of the nation's top birding spots.


This Just In… Performance Anomalies by Victor Robert Lee

Victor Robert Lee’s debut spy thriller, Performance Anomalies, introduces a memorable espionage hero. Cono is a startling young man of mixed and haunting heritage who has been gifted with an accelerated nervous system. An orphan and a loner, he acts as a freelance spy, using his strange talents in the service of dubious organizations and governments. In Kazakhstan, on a personal mission to rescue a former lover, he is sucked into a deadly maelstrom of betrayal that forces him to question all notions of friendship and allegiance.

Performance Anomalies explores the expansion of Beijing’s imperial reach into Central Asia, and the takeover of Kazakhstan. Cono’s main adversary is a brutal Beijing agent whose personality has been twisted by the Cultural Revolution’s devastation of his family. Victor Robert Lee’s topical depiction of a Beijing government pursuing territorial expansion is sure to resonate with readers given the current tensions over China’s claims on the entire South China Sea.

You can order Performance Anomalies here. Visit author Victor Robert Lee on the web here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? Ordering details are here.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Thanks for All the Fish

Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) was born on this day in 1952, an anniversary Google commemorates today with one of their fabulous doodles: this time animated and interactive.

When he died in May of 2001, Adams was an international bestselling author and satirist. But as Writer’s Almanac notes today, that wasn’t always the case:
He was unemployed, depressed, living in his mother's house, when he remembered a night from years before. He was a teenager traveling around Europe with his guidebook The Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe, and that night he was lying in a field in Innsbruck, drunk, looking up at the stars, and he thought somebody should write a hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy as well. 
Adams began with a radio play which chronicled the adventures of everyman Arthur Dent who is onsite when the earth is demolished in an interstellar construction project. Luckily for Arthur, he catches a ride on a spaceship. A hapless hitchhiker and instant radio success for its creator.
In 1978, the radio broadcasts were such a success that Adams turned them into a series of five successful novels: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979), The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984), and Mostly Harmless (1992).
See previous Google Doodles here.


This Just In… Eat Your Heart Out by Giulia Simolo

Chloe Mackenzie looks like she’s got it together, but she’s falling apart at the seams -- literally. After struggling to squeeze into her beloved gold dress that suddenly feels like it was made for a child, she realizes her skinnier, more vibrant self has bid her goodbye. And just in time for her boyfriend’s brother’s glamorous wedding where she'll be meeting his parents for the first time.

Talk about pressure. She needs to lose weight -- and fast. But it’s when she becomes a dietzilla that life decides to throw more stress her way, making her crave sweet treats to get through working for a moody boss they call Big Bear and the drama of boutique shopping which feels like the eleventh circle of hell now that she's on BFF terms with cheesecake.

Underneath Chloe’s dieting obsession lurks emotional baggage just waiting for a chance to speak up (if she’d stop stuffing it with food): the affair Chloe had that her boyfriend has no idea about. Could his brother have anything to do with why she’s eating her heart out with food?

It’s time for Chloe to discover the real pounds that are holding her back in life. And no, they’re not the ones on her hips.

You can order Eat Your Heart Out here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can see details here.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Tweets From Beyond

Most avid readers have, at one time or another, wished they could reach out to their favorite dead author for advice or comment. And now, as author Ellen Meister (Farewell, Dorothy Parker), let’s us know, through the wonders of social media, we can all fulfill that wish.

Meister’s experience with dead authors is up close and personal. Her charming novel, published earlier this year by Putnam, resurrects the ghost of writer Dorothy Parker against a contemporary New York backdrop. Publishers Weekly said that “Meister skillfully translates the rapier-like wit of the Algonquin Round Table to modern-day New York ... [with] pathos, nuanced characters, plenty of rapid-fire one-liners, and a heart-rending denouement.”

In preparing for the publication of her novel, Meister got the idea to start a Facebook group in her dead heroine’s voice. “My idea was simple,” Meister writes in the Huffington Post. “I would post daily quotes and poems by the great wit, and, with any luck, uncover a few hundred people who loved her as much as I did.”

Beyond her wildest expectations, within two years the Facebook group had more than 70,000 followers. A number which, if nothing else, proves that the ghosts of dead literary stars can still draw a crowd.

The Huffington Post’s list of 10 “Dead Authors with Active social media profiles” includes Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Mark Twain. All of them inhabit the hallowed halls of Facebook and Twitter where @IAM_SHAKESPEARE keeps up a constant rant of… stuff. (“Tell you I do not nor I cannot love you?”) or Laura Ingalls Wilder, tweets as @HalfPintIngalls, with less frequency than Wills, but much higher quality. (“Oh BLAST IT I forgot it's Almanzo's birthday! NO IDEA how to gift-wrap this Morgan horse.”)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

New in Paperback: This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl by Paul Brannigan

When This Is a Call (DaCapo) came out in hardcover late in 2011 it was well reviewed by critics and fans alike. This is the definitive biography of one of the most important and influential musicians of his era by a rock journalist who was as well-equipped as any who might have bitten off this assignment. This is a Call’s opening lines explain why:
Dave Grohl has just slapped me across the face. It’s the early hours of 20 December 2005, and he and I are in a central London rock bar. Neither of us is meant to be here.
Brannigan goes on to explain his relationship with Grohl and the connections they’ve shared. From a very early point, one gets the feeling that this will be the best sort of bio, containing both respect and meat. And it does.

Despite his punk rock background, Brannigan begins his biography carefully and at the beginning, sketching out all of the characters and influences who would come to impact on future head Foo Fighter, Dave Grohl.

Though there are many intimate details and lots of juicy stories, the portrait of Grohl that Brannigan paints is both careful and sensitive. One gets the feeling that Grohl is that rock and roll royalty rarity: a true talent who has ove the years had all of the crazy and all of the temptation thrown at him and still managed to emerge relatively unscathed. More: as a force and talent still very much to be reckoned with. ◊

Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.

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American Psycho Author Working on New Novel

Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, American Psycho) was born in Los Angeles on this day in 1964. From Writer’s Almanac:
His first book, Less Than Zero (1985), was published when he was still a student at Bennington College. He's since written five more novels, most of them about a disaffected, disengaged America. Of course that includes his third, American Psycho (1991), a satirical novel written from the first-person perspective of a Wall Street yuppie serial killer. 
It was banned by the National Organization of Women and dropped by its first publisher. The critic Roger Rosenblatt wrote of it: "American Psycho is the journal Dorian Gray would have written had he been a high school sophomore. But that is unfair to sophomores." Ellis received death threats for it, and the Walt Disney Corporation even barred him from the opening of Euro Disney. The book has since enjoyed a renaissance with critics and scholars.
At the beginning of the year, the 49-year-old author chose a blog to announce that he’s working on a new novel:
The idea to begin a new novel started sometime in January while I was stuck in traffic on the 1-10 merging into Hollywood after I’d spent a week in Palm Springs with the 26-year-old and a friend I’d gone to college with who was now losing her mind.


This Just In… Lost in Infinity by Travis Besecker

Lost in Infinity is not for everyone. The author would have you believe it is a “psychological roller coaster wrapped in the factual memoir of a chronic insomniac suffering from apeirophobia (the fear of infinity).” He would go on to explain that the “novel unfolds the history of his life as he tries to unlock repressed memories through a near schizophrenic relationship with his own splintered subconscious.” This is a clever ruse to suck in his niche reader. This book is not for everyone.

Influenced by Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut and Carlton Mellick III, the novel offers a unique look into the private confessions of a self-absorbed blogger on the precipice of a mental breakdown. The recurring theme of déjà vu gives glimpses of a dark past while offering anecdotes that will eerily relate to most readers. The narrator pulls back the curtain and reveals his dark inner turmoil as he fears a slow deliberate path toward schizophrenia. A repetition of events and recollections leads the reader through the twisted break the author fears while touching on life’s everyday issues and questions. He delves into sleepless nights, stress, relationships and the pitfalls of higher education while he openly offers opinions on religion, suicide, insomnia, depression and the meaning of life.

Part social commentary, part psychological mystery and part diary, what begins as an egotistical journal from an overconfident blogger slowly dissolves into the twisted chaos of a mind on the brink of collapse. The reader is eventually forced to decide if the book is a cry for help from a man attempting to rationalize his schizophrenia or a clever ruse to make them stop and contemplate the meaning of existence. Lost in Infinity leaves the reader questioning everything they thought they knew about the author’s sanity, about their own life, about existence and the infinite universe beyond.

You can order Lost in Infinity here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can see details here.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Crime Fiction: Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina

Of the hundreds of novels I receive each year, I always look forward to the newest one by Denise Mina. Her writing is consistently fresh and compelling, and nobody wraps an important social theme around a challenging and topical plot line better than she does. Mina’s latest effort, Gods and Beasts (Reagan Arthur), will not disappoint her many fans.

This tale begins in a small post office in Glasgow, Scotland. An elderly man is standing in line with his 4-year-old grandson, waiting to mail a parcel, when a masked gunman bursts in, waives an AK-47 pistol about, and orders the customers to lie on the floor. When the gunman picks the grandfather out, the old man hands the boy to a stranger, Martin Pavel, saying only “He’s yours.” Then he turns to help the gunman by holding a canvas bag open for him. When the robber has finished filling it with cash he turns his gun on the old man and shoots him -- not once but 10 times, nearly cutting the man in half as round after round exits his now-lifeless body. Then, with glass and blood and chaos in his wake, the gunman disappears, leaving the boy gripping Martin in terror, until the police arrive.

The case falls on Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow and her partner, Detective Constable Harris, to solve. Beyond the confused accounts of the terrified witnesses and the lifeless body of the old man, they have little to go on. Not least among their challenges, Martin Pavel -- the man given the boy -- is not at all what he seems to be.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg, for across town at nearly the same time two other officers, DC Tamsin Leonard and her partner, DS George Wilder, are on the edge of the city about to end their shift when they receive a call to keep an eye out for an Audi G7, known to be the vehicle of choice for local drug dealers. The owner of that car is wanted in connection with an ongoing investigation.

For very different reasons, both officers have been marginalized from their peers: Wilder because he is simply offensive, Leonard because she is gay. They’d been paired in order to spare other officers from having to deal with them. They both know it, and tolerate each other as the lesser of the various evils they put up with on a daily basis.

Before long they spot the Audi, and light it up. Surprisingly, the driver pulls over and when questioned, seems largely unconcerned about being stopped. Something about his smugness alerts them, and Wilder asks him to open the rear hatch, revealing a panel in the floor. Underneath it they discover a large IKEA bag full of cash, all in 20-pound notes. For this couple of officers, it’s decision time: take the driver in and log the loot, or keep it for themselves and cut him loose. The choice will have consequences that ripple throughout the rest of their lives.

But two plot lines are seldom enough for the complex mind of Denise Mina, and in the more rarefied atmosphere of party politics, across town local MP Kenny Gallagher is facing demons of his own: he’s just been accused of having an affair with a junior member of his staff -- an allegation that could spell the end of both his career and his troubled marriage. Adding fuel to an already considerable fire, a local gangster, Danny McGrath, has offered to help Kenny with his problem, and just to make matters worse, Danny is DS Morrow’s half-brother. Yet another opportunity for corruption to prevail.

As I noted at the outset, one of the many strengths of Mina’s novels is that they address some of the most important social issues underlying contemporary life. This stems from the author’s background as a graduate student in law, and her realization that she could reach many more people through writing intelligent, thoughtful crime fiction about the very same issues that preoccupied her as an academic. From Mina’s first novel in 1998, Garnethill -- which earned her the John Creasey Award for Best First Crime Fiction -- each of her books has focused on some key aspect of law and morality, and the reader comes away with not only a satisfying literary entertainment, but also with an increased awareness of the contours of major moral issues facing society today.

Gods and Beasts -- the third Alex Morrow novel, after Still Midnight (2009) and The End of the Wasp Season (2011) -- is the bleak narrative of a policing system that values paper-pushing administration over the efforts of front-line officers on streets dominated by savvy criminals who know how to exploit the policing system to shape public perceptions. The book is eloquent in its condemnation of a social system on the verge of collapse, a political system that imposes urban blight on the powerless while serving the desires of craven politicians, and a social system that goes through the motions of caring about those on the margins, but which is incapable of responding to their actual needs. Mina’s tale takes its name from a passage in Aristotle, in which the philosopher states the central tension confronting civilized society regardless of time or place: “Those who live outside the city walls, and are self-sufficient, are either Gods or Beasts.” The recurring question of Mina’s novel is, which will prevail? And the ending is provocative, to say the least.

All the strengths that one could wish for in a crime novel -- literate writing, a strong sense of setting, nuanced characters, layered plotting that threads its way through the characters’ personal and professional lives, and a theme that resonates with readers -- are present in Gods and Beasts. This is a fine, flawless novel. Every page is fresh and compelling, and will leave readers eagerly awaiting her next one. ◊

Jim Napier is a crime-fiction reviewer based in Quebec. His book reviews and author interviews have been featured in several Canadian papers as well as on such websites as Spinetingler Magazine, The Rap Sheet, Shots, Reviewing the Evidence and Type M for Murder. Napier also has an award-winning crime-fiction site, Deadly Diversions.

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Gabriel García Márquez: “Who Taught Me to Write?”

Beloved Colombian writer and Nobel laureate, Gabriel García Márquez, did not take a straight line to become one of the world’s most respected novelists. The author of Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude and others started as a newspaper reporter in the late 1940s and into the 50s.

Márquez honed his craft, working his job every day, “Then, when everyone had gone home for the day, he would stay in the newsroom and write his fiction,” says Writer’s Almanac on the occasion of Márquez’s 86th birthday. “He said, ‘I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn’t be able to work.’”

He learned to write short stories first from Kafka, and later from the American Lost Generation. He said that the first line of Kafka’s Metamorphosis “almost knocked [him] off the bed,” he was so surprised. In one interview, he quoted the first line (“As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy drams, he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect”) and told the interviewer, “When I read the line, I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories.”

See today’s Writer’s Almanac here.


This Just In… Sanctuary by Kris Kramer

In ninth century Britain, chaos rules as kingdoms splinter, Vikings invade from all corners, and lives and fortunes are lost to those with the biggest sword and the smallest shreds of morality. Daniel is a young priest who sees a lone warrior save his village from savage raiders. He believes he’s seen a miracle, and he follows the reclusive warrior on his mysterious trek across the island, hoping to find his own path in this brutal and unforgiving world.

Daniel’s journey takes him to places he’d long since left, forcing him to face his past, along with dour dwarves, canny druids, and an army of Viking warriors. When he meets a captive woman with strange abilities amongst the ruins of humanity’s savage and unforgiving past, Daniel will face his true enemy, a powerful demon, who waits for his dominion over man to be complete.

You can order Sanctuary here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can see details here.


Monday, March 04, 2013

Morrison: Forget “Boobs and Butts”

Speaking to a roomful of Google employees last week, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison didn’t mince words when it came to what she feels is important in writing. “When you write about physical attraction,” she said, “someone falling in love, or making love, it's just so relentlessly boring.”

Morrison cited an example from one of her best known works. “So why don’t you do something different?” The Huffington Post Reported. “When I wrote Beloved I had these guys watching Sethe (the main character) in a cornfield making love to this guy. You can’t see her, they can see the tops of the corn, and then the language goes on …. It’s all about corn. And I had a guy say I’ll never see corn the same way.”

You can read more about Morrison’s visit to Google here.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Abraham Lincoln, Poet

Considering the pedigree of the Academy Award-winning film, Lincoln, how could there not be a huge resurgence of interest in the life of America’s 16th President? After all, nearly everyone loves themselves some Spielberg (Warhorse, Saving Private Ryan), the screenplay was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Tony Kushner (Angels in America) based on a book (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln) by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin and starring Academy Award-winning actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field. Clearly, with all of that firepower, people were going to pay attention.

Though it’s not been a secret that Abraham Lincoln wrote poetry, it isn’t an aspect of his life or interests that’s ever been dwelled upon. In a life that was deeply interesting, inarguably important and definitely not long enough, when you’re looking at Lincoln, there’s a lot to look at without ever focusing on his love of words. Have we been missing out? Open Culture takes a closer look:
Was he a great poet? Well, it appears that he had at least three phases—the first, a youthful one in his teens and early twenties when he produced some silly juvenelia, “a number of crude and satirical verses.” The most popular of these is called “Chronicles of Reuben,” a local satire Lincoln scholar Robert Bray describes as “a series of pseudo-biblical prose and verse pieces that are, out of their local Indiana context, so topical as to be neither funny nor comprehensible.” The piece, written in 1828 to avenge himself upon a rival Indiana family, apparently had great effect on the neighbors, however. One of them, Joseph C. Richardson, claimed that the poem was “remembered here in Indiana in scraps better than the Bible.”
You can read the full piece here.


New Headline for Author Solutions

The last time Author Solutions made huge headlines was last year when the company was being acquired by the Penguin Group in a deal worthy of dot com boom excitement. This time around, it might not be as much fun.

NYC-based law firm, Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart, have posted the following notice to their web site:
Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart LLP is currently investigating the practices of Author Solutions and all of its brands (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, Xlibris, Inkubook, and Wordclay). Authors using Author Solutions have complained of deceptive practices, including enticing authors to purchase promotional services that are not provided or are worthless, failing to pay royalties, and spamming authors and publishing blogs/sites with promotional material.
Obviously, there is more to this story. We hope to have that for you soon.


This Just In… The Gospel According to Mamma by Annette Bridges

After almost a decade of writing columns for newspapers, magazines and websites resulting in hundreds of stirring and motivating columns, the author realized that many of her essays were inspired by lessons learned from her mamma. So it was appropriate and natural for her first book to pay tribute.

Mamma’s life lessons book -- or Mamma would call it her words of wisdom book -- is now available. The Gospel According to Mamma is a collection of 21 extraordinary lessons the author learned from her charming and captivating southern mamma. These “mamma teachings” are packed with sassy inspiration, practical insights and real-life anecdotes from her inspirational life story along with the author’s own examples of trying to implement what her mamma had taught.

Leaving Georgia with her mamma late one September night when her daddy was en route to end their lives marked the beginning of a lifetime of instruction for both of them. How to maintain faith in God and yourself, love the hell out of folks and be happy when there’s no obvious reason to be are just a few of the messages you’ll find in this book.

You can read more about The Gospel According to Mamma here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can see details here.


This Just In… The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men by Rick and Chris Strickland

“A man does not come to know what type of woman he needs until he comes to know what type of man he is.”

Inspired by two of the biggest issues faced in modern America: marriage and infidelity. What if you could really know the deep down secrets that men keep buried inside that only God, themselves and a few close friends know about? What would you do if you found out that the man you are married to or even dating is not the person you thought he was? The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men gives ladies the opportunity of a lifetime to join the boys club and have exclusive rights to listen to men openly express themselves like never before. What you will learn could be the key to building long-lasting relationships. What can women do to turn the course of nature from this destructive path? They can learn not only to think like a man, but to be the kind of lady that men cherish in long term relationships.

You can read more about The Deep Confessions of Faithful Men here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can see details here.


This Just In… Who I Be by Annie Brown

When most people look into a mirror, what they see is unsatisfactory -- an image tainted by society’s dictates of how we are supposed to look. We were made in the image of God, so why do we waste time and energy remaking ourselves to please others? Scripture has declared that we were wonderfully and fearfully made, but we would rather conform to society’s image rather than be transformed into the image that God wants us to be. In the process, many of us lose ourselves and become someone we do not recognize.

Who I Be is a call to action. Contemplate who you are, not who you think you need to be. The decision is yours: to lead a happy and productive life, or spend useless hours trying to be what you perceive will be popular with others. Who I Be by Annie Brown prepares you to ask yourself: “Who I Be?”

You can read more about the book here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can see details here.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Don’t Affect the Effect

With National Grammar Day zooming towards us March 4th, you’d best be careful where you put that apostrophe.

The organizers of the event are clearly passionate about their topic. “It’s not only a date,” the National Grammar Day web site warns, “it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”

And because grammar geeks are nothing if not thorough, the web site is packed with tools to help you push their imperative.

The site offers links to contests, related wallpaper and icons, ten grammar myths, free teaching materials and, of course, lots of grammar tips. If you’ve ever wondered about Affect versus Effect, Who versus Whom or Lay Versus Lie, you’ll definitely find the answer here.

National Grammar Day was started in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough. Brockenbrough is the founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) and author of Things That Make Us [Sic].

This Just In… Talons by Brad Massingham

After the tragic death of his wife, Boston homicide detective Jack Kennedy decided to take a job as police chief of small town in the heart of the Florida Everglades.

All Jack wanted was to finish out his career in peace and quiet. For a while it appeared he was going to get his wish, which was until a mummified body was discovered in the middle of the Glades. Teaming up with Special Agent Kathryn Burke, the two managed to uncover a 40-year-old conspiracy that reaches to the very heights of the federal government.

Brad Massingham, author of Talons, started writing at a young age, simply hoping to entertain his friends. He continued to write through post-secondary school and managed to win awards for short stories. Brad has also written several plays including, The Suicide Kit, which was produced in Vancouver, Canada.  He currently works as a paramedic for the City of Toronto. Talons is Brad’s debut novel and is the first in the Jack Kennedy thriller series.

You can read order Talons here. ◊

This Just In... is a column that shares basic information on selected titles. Titles are included at the editor’s discretion and on a first come, first served basis. Want to see your new book included? You can ordering information is here.