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Midsummer Middle Grade Reading Madness July 30, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in animals, children's literature, e-books, paranormal, self-published authors, weekly topics.
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MediaMonday for July 30, 2012: Ebook Pirating. Source media from GalleyCat, July 27, 2012.

Kids and summer reading go together like watermelon and picnics. Don’t they? On Wednesday and Friday we have guest hosts to lead discussions on great summer books for middle grade readers, including their own recently published novels.

Maggie Dana

Wednesday brings Maggie Dana into #litchat to discuss her Timber Ridge Riders line of fiction for young horse-lovers. The series includes four titles, previously published in print, but revived and now available as ebooks. Timber Ridge Stables is the home away from home of Kate McGregor, her best friend Holly Chapman, and their arch rival Angela Dean. Filled with action and intrigue, this new series is a must read for savvy girls who love horses. Dana’s polished prose and insightful characters take readers along with Kate and Holly as they dive into a stormy summer filled with secrets and lies and impossible dreams.

Maggie Dana took her first riding lesson at the age of five and hated it so much, she didn’t try again for another three years. But all it took was the right instructor and the right horse and she was hooked for life. Her new riding stable was slap bang in the middle of Pinewood Studios, home of England’s movie industry. So while learning to groom horses, clean tack, and muck stalls, Maggie also got to see the stars in action. Some even spoke to her.

Born and raised near London, Maggie now makes her home on the Connecticut shoreline where she divides her time between hanging out with the family’s horses and writing middle grade novels and women’s fiction. Her award-winning women’s fiction novel, Beachcombing, is now available as an ebook, published with the new title, Painting Naked. She is currently at work writing the next book in theTimber Ridge Riders series.

Follow Maggie Dana on Twitter: @maggiedana.

Joanne Levy in #litchat

Joanne Levy

Friday’s guest host, Joanne Levy, is author of Small Medium At Large, her first published novel. Small Medium At Large features a cast of memorable characters from both sides of the grave. When she’s struck by lightning at her mother’s wedding, Lilah Bloom receives a special gift. She can hear and speak to ghosts. Her beloved grandmother is concerned for Lilah’s dad, who has still not rebounded from the divorce from Lilah’s mother. When her grandmother charges Lilah with helping her father find a new wife, and when word gets around that Lilah can communicate to the dead, Lilah’s life goes from ordinary to spectacular.

Joanne Levy’s love of books began at a very early age. Being the youngest and the only female among four children, she was often left to her own devices and could frequently be found sitting in a quiet corner with her nose in a book. After much teenage misadventure, Joanne eventually graduated from university and now spends her weekdays as an executive assistant at one of Canada’s big banks planning meetings and thwarting coffee emergencies. When Joanne isn’t working, she can usually be found at her computer, channeling her younger self into books. Joanne lives in Ontario with her husband and kids of the furred and feathered variety.

Watch the video trailer for Small Medium At Large.

Follow Joanne Levy on Twitter: @JoanneLevy.

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Taking the E-Road: Publishing Direct to E-Book June 20, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, e-books, fantasy, fiction, literary fiction, self-published authors, self-publishing.
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Last March bestselling author Barry Eisler made publishing headlines when he announced his new novel would circumvent traditional publishing and go direct to market as an e-book. The writing was on the wall long before Eisler came public with his choice. Nearly two years earlier author J.A. Konrath had already cleared obstacles barring the successful promotion and sales of fiction through self-publishing to e-book. Shortly after Eisler’s announcement, Huffington Post published this insightful conversation between the two authors, which went on to become a live discussion continuing today through Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog. How will such defections of bestselling authors affect the publishing industry at large? Last week PBS Media Shift addressed this issue with this report on literary agents acting as self-publishing consultants. The publishing paradigm is shifting so quickly now, the image is blurred.

This week in #litchat we’ll discuss the trend of authors–both known and unknown–to go direct to e-book.  We’ll feature three authors who have taken their careers into their own hands and boldly gone where Konrath and Eisler have already been. These authors, however, aren’t bestellers. Yet. Each of them have already achieved success within e-pub rankings and are forging new paths for other yet-unpublished authors to follow.

Monday: Georganna Hancock

Georganna Hancock shares the inside tips on how to whip a manuscript into shape for successful e-book formatting, promotion and sales. Hancock’s rich experience as an editor is the focal point for this discussion, as she emphasizes the importance of professional editing for content, grammar and style that is often skipped by self-publishing authors. She’ll also share insights on how to set-up an Amazon account for direct-to-Kindle publishing, how to format your manuscript for the best e-book results, as well as promotional and marketing tips for sales. Hancock holds a Master’s Degree from Northwestern University and now works as an independent editor and publishing consultant.

Follow Georganna Hancock on Twitter: @GLHancock.

Wednesday: Eileen Cruz Coleman

Eileen Cruz Coleman has published two novels direct to e-book. Her first novel, Sweetwater American, was released on Kindle in February 2010. Excerpts from Sweetwater American have been published in short story form in The Saint Ann’s Review, Bathtub Gin, Thought Magazine, Rosebud Magazine, Sundry: A Journal of the Arts, In Posse Review, Small Spiral Notebook, and Slow Trains Magazine. Excerpts from Sweetwater American have also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won third place in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. At this writing, her latest novel, Rumpel, is holding the number 2 position at Amazon Kindle’s Horror/Ghosts category. Rumpel is a literary retelling of the Brothers Grimm classic, Rumpelstiltskin, peopled with sinister spooks and textured with dark swaths of chicanery.  Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in European History. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.

Follow Eileen Cruz Coleman on Twitter: @EileenCruzColeman.

Friday: Billie Hinton

Billie Hinton began her own publishing company, November Hill Press, in the summer of 2010, launching her first title, Claire-Obscure, a literary fiction masterpiece. In the year that has followed, she has published two more literary fiction titles, The Meaning of Isolated Objects (December 2010) and Signs That May Be Omens (March 2011, continuation in the Claire Quartet). In February 2011, she published the first in her middle grade Magical Pony School series, Jane’s Transformation. These titles have been shaped through the years by Hinton’s magical literary touch and now come to readers through Kindle and Smashwords. Her writing has been praised by bestselling authors, critics and other publishing pundits, both in traditional and transitional fields. Hinton, a psychotherapist by vocation, also leads writing retreats designed to unleash the creativity and empower writers to project completion. She lives on a small horse farm in North Carolina with her husband, two teenagers, three horses, a painted pony, five felines, and two Corgis.

Follow Billie Hinton on Twitter: @billiehinton.

Suspense May 9, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, e-books, fiction, suspense.
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M.J. Rose

Learning to control fear is a milestone along life’s journey. Educators and psychologists agree that reading scary books actually helps people face and overcome fear. With suspense as our topic of the week, we’ll begin on Monday discussing what makes a suspense novel work, why it’s different from a thriller, and how suspense works to help people through their own personal phobias and fears. On Wednesday, we’ll continue the conversation with discussion of specific suspense novels and the authors who write them. Friday’s guest host, award-winning suspense author M.J. Rose, will complete the week’s topic.

Rose is the international bestselling author of 11 novels, her most recent release being The Hypnotist, the third in her Reincarnationist series which includes The Reincarnationist and The Memorist. Her other novels are Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying in Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex and The Venus Fix.

Getting published has been an adventure for Rose who self-published Lip Service late in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down. Editors had loved it, but didn’t know how to position it or market it since it didn’t fit into any one genre.

Frustrated, but curious and convinced that there was a readership for her work, she set up a web site where readers could download her book for $9.95 and began to seriously market the novel on the Internet.

After selling over 2500 copies (in both electronic and trade paper format) Lip Service became the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club.

Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online, and with Doug Clegg of Buzz Your Book .

She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She runs two popular blogs; Buzz, Balls & Hype andBackstory.

Follow M.J. Rose on Twitter: @MJRose.

Aliens and Others May 2, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in alternative publishers, digital readers, e-books, science fiction, self-published authors, small presses.
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Aurelio O'Brien

We are all aliens in some way or another. Step into a country club without an invitation and you’re an illegal alien. Try to join a secret society without a sponsor and at best you are ignored. You wear a burqa in a suburban neighborhood and you’re eyed with suspicion. Short, smart, autistic, or artistic, in middle school, everyone’s an alien. Lift your hands in worship at a traditional Christian church and you’re ostracized. Worse, you’re gay in a fundamental church and you’re not only an alien, you’re a sinner. This week in #litchat we’re discussing novels which explore alienation as a theme.

On Friday, Aurelio O’Brien joins us as guest host of #litchat. O’Brien’s timely new novel, GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL, may be sorted into science fiction, but like the best of that genre, it contains keen observations on what it is to be an alien in a homogenistically inclined society.

When respected scientist, Dr. Grace Brown, is sent on a preposterous mission to examine a group of nutcases who claim to be pregnant with alien babies, she is outraged. Her affront turns to activism when the crazies blow everyone’s mind with the birth to seven sentient lifeforms as diverse as fauna and flora can be. Joining forces with a tabloid journalist and photographer, she becomes the champion for the extraterrestrial children and their families as they grow up in a culture of misunderstanding, discrimination, and alienation. With astute observations keyed with charming prose and light-fast pacing, GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL is a book for today and many more tomorrows.

As a book, GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL is a type of alien to mainstream publishing. O’Brien, whose professional background is in film and animation, released his first book, EVE, in the tradition of independent filmmakers. Because of the nurturing culture of independent film, O’Brien didn’t expect to be snubbed by mainstream publishing and media, yet he found roadblocks to reviews and other publicity. EVE sold well with O’Brien’s out-of-the-box marketing, so he forged ahead with GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL with the same enthusiasm for indie expression.

The initial release of GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL is a ten ePisode eSerial designed specifically for hand held readers and mobile phone reading apps. As each successive ePisode follows GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL from infancy to adulthood, further literary and marketing innovations include an elaborate GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL eUniverse: embedded within each ePisode is a hyperlink to a website associated with the story and/or a character. These sites contain links to the web-based download location for the next ePisode. Readers will experience the added dimension of exploring characters’ blogs, story-related sites, and joining a fully supported facebooklike alien/human social network. Publisher Bad Attitude Books plans to release a limited deluxe edition collectable hardcover at a later date.

Aurelio O’Brien grew up in a raucous household full of uniquely gifted siblings in the heart of Silicon Valley before there were PC’s, cell phones, and flat-screen TV’s. His father worked in aerospace, on the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Space Shuttle, nurturing young Aurelio in an eclectic environmental medley of suburbia, cherry orchards, and cutting-edge technology. O’Brien’s quirky creative talents led him to a successful career as an illustrator, animator, and graphic designer.

Download the first chapter of GENERATION EXTRATERRESTRIAL.

Follow Aurelio O’Brien on Twitter: @AurelioOBrien.

Lad Lit November 7, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in commercial fiction, e-books, fiction, weekly topics.
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Ian Barker

There’s women’s fiction and chick lit. While novels by such authors as Nick Hornby, whose single male protagonists fall into situations as crazy and campy as anything written by Jennifer Weiner, are bestsellers, they don’t get a category to themselves. Why? Is it solely a marketing decision, or is there more behind it? This week in #litchat we’ll discuss books with young, urbane and sexy men as protagonists in romantic set-ups.

Joining us on Friday, November 12, 2010 is Ian Barker, author of Fallen Star (November 2010, Rebel ePublishers). With a keen wit and a sharp eye on social commentary, Barker brings us the story of boy-band heart-throb Karl Weston. When the lead singer of the Fallen Boys dies of a drug overdose, the band disintegrates and leaves Karl and the other Fallen Boys floundering in their own fame. Reality thrusts a mirror in Karl’s face when a mix of dodgy management and pop-culture theatrics send Karl looking for gigs in all the wrong places. His life heats up again when he meets Irish firebrand Lizzie Keating and joins the cast of a reality TV show called Celebrity Boarding School.

Barker’s first cash-in-the-bank publishing credit was a Laughter the Best Medicine gag for Reader’s Digest in 1998. Since then he has gone on to write topical comedy sketches for BBC Radio’s The News Huddlines, and has had short stories published in Evergreen magazine, and in the WritersNet Anthology. He has stories published online in the e-zines Starving Arts and Crime Scene Scotland plus a co-written story on Admit Two. Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Barker grew up in north-east England and gained a business degree from Teesside Polytechnic in the early ’80s. In his day job he is editor of PC Utilities magazine and a regular contributor to sister publications. He currently lives in Bolton, Greater Manchester and doesn’t own a dishwasher.

Follow Ian Barker on Twitter: @IanDBarker

Read the chatscript of #litchat with guest host Ian Barker here.

E-Book Revolution August 29, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in e-books, thrillers, weekly topics.
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Jane Friedman

E-books existed before the Kindle made them quick to find and easy to read. This August 26, 2010 piece in the Wall Street Journal notes how Laura Lippman’s latest thriller, I’d Know You Anywhere, sold more e-books than tree books during its first week of release. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss how e-books are changing the publishing industry.

On Monday, September 29, Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest and now an independent media consultant (The Most Progressive Media Professional You’ll Meet) opens our weekly discussion of e-books. Friedman is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, and teaches full-time in the e-media department of CCM. A frequent speaker at writing and publishing events, Friedman’s mission is to help writers understand the transformation underway in the media and publishing industries, and how writers can be successful and in control of their careers.

E.J. Knapp

Sharing his publishing journey on Friday, September 3, is E.J. Knapp, whose debut novel, Stealing the Marbles, releases September 1, from Rebel e Publishers. Based in South Africa, Rebel e Publishers released its first book, Killerbyte by Cat Connor, exclusively by e-book last April. While the global publisher is still sharply focused on e-publishing, reader demand has led them to seek an environmentally friendly POD publisher for those who prefer traditional print and pages.

Stealing the Marbles begins and ends in Greece, where master thief Danny Samsel is hiding out after his last art heist from the White House. Bored of the quiet island life and itching for action, Samsel emerges from hiding to take on the British Museum in a give-back caper to bring back to Greece a vast collection of statuary and marble carvings taken from the Parthenon by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, in 1798. Fans of the Ocean’s 11 film series will enjoy Knapp’s thief-with-a-heart protagonist and the clever plotting that an escapade of such magnitude requires.

Knapp has published several short stories in obscure online magazines, most of which no longer exist, though he insists this is not his fault. He is also the author of a non-fiction work, The Great Golden Gate Bridge Trivia Book, published by Chronicle Books in 1987 and reissued as Secrets of the Golden Gate Bridge for Kindle through Sleeping Tiger, LLC, in February of this year.

Follow E.J. Knapp on Twitter at @ej_knapp

Follow Jane Friedman on Twitter at @janefriedman

Read chatscripts from this week’s E-Book Revolution topic:

August 30, 2010: Ebook Revolution, Jane Friedman

September 1, 2010: Ebook Revolution, open topic

September 3, 2010: Ebook Revolution, author EJ Knapp