I have recently found a wonderful series of children's books that star a captivating curly-coated Jack Russell terrier named Mr. Pish. These books are pure joy. Mr. Pish embodies all the wonder and excitement of children discovering the larger world around them, and draws his young readers in with questions about their own surroundings and their own discoveries. Mr. Pish teaches about geology and geography, flora and fauna, history and culture with little bite-sized tidbits of fun. Never heavy-handed, Mr. Pish invites his readers to come along and share in his adventures and the results are several books that promise to spark a child's brain with a love of reading and knowledge. How cool is that? Reblogged from http://facing50withhumour.com/2013/06/16/of-dogs-and-writers/
Those of us who have discovered the
joys of self-publishing could probably talk about it all day and the nay-sayers
would never agree that it’s an idea whose time has come. Luckily for us, more
“validating” sources are jumping on the bandwagon, and the issues of legitimacy
are shrinking more every day.
Even the Big 6 have finally realized
that self-pubbing is a viable option, and they are moving quickly to get their
fingers in the pie. You can bet your bippie that they are not doing this out of
the goodness of their hearts, anxious to help newbie writers and low-listers
escape from their dungeons of obscurity, but because it has become a
money-maker. They are finally realizing what we all knew long ago—that readers
don’t really give a rat’s patootie who publishes a book. Think about it: when
was the last time you wrestled with a book purchase, turned it to the back or the
publication page to find out who had published it, and made your decision based
on that? Anyone? Ever?
Didn’t think so.
So anyway, the Big 6 are now moving
into the realm of the unwashed. In November of 2011, Penguin announced its
addition of BookCountry, its self-publishing subsidiary.
Country provides users with three self-publishing packages: $99 for a
user-formatted e-book; $299 for a user-formatted print and e-book; and $549 for
a professionally formatted print and e-book. Those who select the $549 option
can choose from six styles created by Penguin’s in-house designers. Each style
corresponds to a certain book genre: “The Sensation” for sci-fi/fantasy titles,
for example, or “The Riddler” for mysteries and thrillers. Users can make up to
15 free formatting changes before the book is published.”
Likewise, a blog
entry from November 2012 documented Simon & Schuster’s announcement of
its new self-publishing arm, Archway.
"Through Archway Publishing, Simon &
Schuster is pleased to be part of the rapidly expanding self-publishing segment
of our industry," said Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon &
Schuster. "Self-publishing has
become a viable and popular route to publication for many authors, and
increasingly a source of content for traditional publishers, including Simon
& Schuster. We're excited that we'll be able to help more authors find
their own path to publication and at the same time create a more direct
connection to those self-published authors ready to make the leap to
traditional publishing." (Emphasis mine)
Obviously this is not new news, but the point is that it’s
trending. Self-publishing is no longer the red-haired stepchild that lives
under the stairs. She’s standing up, dusting herself off, putting on her
dancing shoes. She’s already got her ticket to the ball, and has plenty of
dance partners to choose from. Hugh Howey, author of the indie hit Wool, has broken through the barriers in
a stunning way. His book, originally self-published, is now being translated
into 19 languages and Ridley Scott is slated to do the movie adaptation. Not
Also not too shabby is the Self-Publishing Book Expo. This year
marks the 5th anniversary of the book expo, slated to run in New
York in November. It promises to be a cornucopia of panels, seminars,
exhibitors and presenters. Sounds like the perfect place to rub shoulders with
other unfettered, risk-taking, brave indie writers.
So I just finished my latest book, a
ghost story (woo hoo!), and aside from waiting on beta-readers and fiddling
with the cover and blurb, I’m ready to start my next project. But which one?
I’m guessing most of us writers have
a backlog of ideas tucked away in their brains. I've got a good half dozen
interesting ideas for books. There’s the novel I’m about half-way done with
that concerns a past life as a Holocaust victim, the fictionalized version of
the January 8th mass shooting here in Tucson, a western romance
about a British girl who lands in tiny Bisbee, Arizona, and falls for the local
sheriff, a biography of my father-in-law, and a time-travel story about a
western actor who slips through a vortex in Sedona and ends up in the old west.
Did I ever mention the fact that I
never write the same story twice?
Now you might think that the logical
process would be for the No. 1 item, once it’s completed, to come off the list
and then No. 2 rises up to take its place.
But, no, it’s not that easy. I've found that the next project chooses me more than I choose it.
Rather than a rational to-do list
like above, I find that my ideas are more like a simmering cauldron that
bubbles and boils. I’m never quite sure which one will rise to the top and
catch my attention like a delectable slice of carrot or a savory baby red
potato. Whatever rises to the surface will entice me with a mouth-watering
aroma, leading me gently to the keyboard.
Or it’ll grab me in a headlock and
drag me to my computer, handcuffing me to the chair until I pour out its story onto
And, to make it worse, the bubbling
and boiling doesn’t stop there. I might be knee-deep in a story (as I was in
the Holocaust book) when another idea (the ghost story) rises up and refuses to
go away. Roiling merrily away, the new idea keeps drawing my interest away from
the story at hand until I end up staring at the now abandoned story and typing
nothing because I’m imagining the new story instead.